Hello and good afternoon to everyone, especially the Jeffrey Epstein suicide truthers, who will certainly be fired up after absorbing this news: Surveillance footage from one of the deceased financier's jail cells inside Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center — footage that should tell attorneys something about the nature of his first alleged suicide attempt — has reportedly vanished. It's just gone.
As you will recall, the footage from the day officers found Epstein dead in his cell also left questions open: Investigators declared part of it usable, and other parts — for reasons they did not explain — unusable. Well maybe the MCC security cameras were just on the fritz this summer! According to the NY Post, video from late July, when officers found Epstein curled up with injuries to his neck but alive, cannot be accounted for, even though lawyers for Epstein's former cellmate, ex-cop Nick Tartaglione, asked that it be preserved. Tartaglione maintains that he tried to help Epstein when the latter allegedly tried to kill himself; before his death in August, Epstein reportedly told his legal team that Tartaglione had throttled him, thus the marks on his throat. But now, according to attorney Bruce Barket, prosecutors say they didn't know where said footage might be.
"I don’t know the details of how it was lost or destroyed or why it wasn’t retained when it should have been,” Barket told the tabloid. "We want to be sure that all the evidence is preserved to show that Nick behaved appropriately and even admirably that evening."
“We asked for all the video and photographic evidence to be preserved, specifically this surveillance video," he added. "Now it’s gone."
Those who believe the official ruling on the 67-year-old sex offender's untimely death may chalk up disappearing footage to what certainly looks like systemic mismanagement over at the MCC: In order to even allow Epstein a window in which he could hang himself, which is what the city's Medical Examiner says happened, a long chain of procedural fumbles would have occurred. Having just come off suicide watch, Epstein should not have been alone in his cell for any stretch of time — and yet his cellmate was transferred without an immediate replacement. He should not have had access to items in said cell that he could use to harm himself — and yet he did. Guards should have come to check on him every half hour — and yet they reportedly slept through a substantial portion of their shift, failing to monitor the inmate for three hours. (Those guards have since been arrested and charged with conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiracy to make false records, while the MCC itself faces multiple investigations.)
Still, given the severity of the charges Epstein faced for, allegedly, having run a decades-long sex trafficking operation primarily on the backs of minors, whom he allegedly paid large sums to give him "massages" that often involved forced intercourse; given the scope of his fortune and his influence, many people do not buy the government's explanation. Many people found that string of alleged lapses a little too convenient. His circle included, at various times, heads of state; our current president and a past president; foreign princes; politicians; basically, a number of the most powerful people in the world. Epstein had long claimed he had dirt on these people — if that's true, skeptics speculated, might someone have taken it upon themself to make sure that information never came out in court?
Waves of conspiracy theories swirled around the mysterious death, now neatly encompassed by the "Epstein Didn't Kill Himself" meme. Epstein's former body guard, a pathologist hired by his defense team, and even his own brother, have lent support to this camp. "I could see if he got a life sentence, I could then see him taking himself out, but he had a bail hearing coming up,’’ Mark Epstein told the Miami Herald, which resurfaced the myriad allegations against the money manager last year, leading to his eventual arrest. “Jeffrey knew a lot of stuff about a lot of people.”
Gothamist has contacted the MCC and the U.S. District Attorney for Southern New York, and will update if we hear back.
In other Epstein news, Business Insider reports that the alleged child molester once planned to marry his girlfriend's young daughter. Former Miss Sweden Eva Andersson Dubin dated Epstein as an adult from the 1980s to 1990s, but continued to associate with him after the fact — even after he went to jail in 2008. Anyway, Epstein and Eva Andersson's current husband — Glenn Dubin — reportedly maintained some sort of relationship (Glenn Dubin has been accused of having sex with one of Epstein's alleged victims), but Epstein maintained an "especially close relationship" with the daughter, Celina Dubin, who would've been 12 at the time she met him. "Uncle Jeff," as Celina reportedly called him, allegedly announced in 2014 that if he ever got married, it would be to Celina, 19 at the time.
The Dubins, for their part, have declared themselves "horrified by Jeffrey Epstein's despicable conduct" and according to a spokesperson were "completely unaware of Jeffrey Epstein’s unspeakable conduct. They categorically deny the allegations and have evidence disproving them.” Absent any evidence of inappropriate behavior toward the much younger woman, now 24, Business Insider reports that the union may have been for the purposes of avoiding an inheritance tax in leaving his fortune to his favorite non-niece. Mhm yeah sure totally.