Prosecutors admitted on Thursday that surveillance footage depicting the outside of late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s prison cell during his first suicide attempt back in July has been erased.
This was revealed in a Thursday court filing by Assistant US Attorney Jason Swergold regarding a case involving Nicholas Tartaglione, an accused murderer who had been Epstein’s cellmate when they were both housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) over the summer, according to The New York Post.
“The Government has learned that the MCC inadvertently preserved video from the wrong tier within the MCC, and, as a result, video from outside the defendant’s cell on July 22 – 23, 2019 (i.e. the requested video) no longer exists,” the filing states.
Tartaglione’s lawyer Bruce Barket has been trying to get the footage for weeks in the hopes of proving that his client had nothing to do with the marks on Epstein’s neck that appeared while the two were sharing a cell together. Last month, Swergold claimed to a judge that the surveillance footage had gone missing, but he changed his story the next day, claiming that the video had actually been preserved.
The filing goes on to allege that a computer malfunction resulted in Tartaglione being listed as being housed in a different cell, which resulted in staffers at the MCC saving surveillance footage from the wrong cell. Prosecutors told the judge that they only learned that the footage was gone last Friday when the MCC gave them the wrong surveillance video.
They wrote that “after reviewing the video, it appeared to the Government that 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.”
Unfortunately, the MCC’s backup system has also been malfunctioning, which means that the surveillance footage that could shed so much light on Epstein’s first suicide attempt is now permanently gone.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation … reviewed that backup system as part of an unrelated investigation and determined that the requested video no longer exists on the backup system and has not since at least August 2019 as a result of technical errors,” prosecutors continued in the filing.
Barket, Tartaglione’s attorney, has since spoken out to slam the MCC for their incompetence regarding the surveillance footage.
“It is mind-boggling to me that they would have preserved the wrong video, and erased the real video,” Barket lamented. “It is simply beyond the pale.”
Epstein was found dead in his cell one month after his first attempt to take his own life in what has since been ruled a suicide, but many have since speculated that he did not kill himself and was instead murdered. Before his arrest for numerous sex crimes involving underage girls, he was linked to various powerful people, including Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, and there’s no telling what dirt Epstein’s trial would have revealed about them.
Epstein’s death was awfully convenient for numerous influential men from all over the globe, which has resulted in conspiracy theories that he was murdered to run rampant in the wake of his passing. This surveillance footage going missing is only going to fuel these theories, and raise even more questions as to what exactly happened to Jeffrey Epstein.