Prosecutors: Video Of Epstein’s Cell During Suicide Attempt Was Destroyed
Prosecutors have revealed that surveillance video from outside Jeffrey Epstein’s cell during his attempted suicide in July was destroyed, according to the New York Daily News.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maurene Comey and Jason Swergold made the revelation in a letter filed Thursday, marking yet another turn in the explanation for what happened to footage from the Metropolitan Correctional Center on the night Epstein “attempted to hang himself that night while sharing a cell with accused quadruple murderer Nick Tartaglione.”
The Daily News reported that Swergold initially said the surveillance video had not been preserved, but within 24 hours he had changed his story to indicate that the footage had been archived.
Now, the story is that MCC staff preserved footage from outside the wrong cell, the news outlet reported.
And on top of this supposed record-keeping error, the backup system that should have saved the video was not working either.
“The footage contained on the preserved video was for the correct date and time, but captured a different tier than the one where Cell-1 was located because the preserved video did not show corrections officers responding to any of the cells seen on the video. After speaking with MCC legal counsel, the Government was informed that the MCC computer system listed a different, incorrect cell for Tartaglione,” prosecutors wrote in the letter filed in Manhattan Federal Court.
“The requested video no longer exists on the backup system and has not since at least August 2019 as a result of technical errors,” they added.
Tartaglione, who is “facing the death penalty for the murders prosecutors allege were linked to a drug deal gone bad with a Mexican cartel,” could have benefitted from the now-lost footage as well.
His attorney, Bruce Barkett, said he asked for the video to be preserved because Tartaglione acted “admirably” during Epstein’s attempted suicide, potentially saving his life that night.
“It is stunning that a video which we asked to be preserved and which the jail should have saved without a request was destroyed. More troubling are the various and inconsistent accounts of what happened to the video. We believe that the video would have strongly corroborated our client’s assertion that he acted appropriately that evening and are deeply disturbed it has disappeared,” Barket told the Daily News.
Epstein was later found dead in a cell he occupied alone on August 10. Officials have determined his death was a suicide by hanging.