In a rather convenient turn of events regarding the “suicide” of Jeffrey Epstein, it seems that the surveillance footage that monitored the outside of his Manhattan jail cell during his first attempt at killing himself magically disappeared.
Well, now the official story is that it was accidentally deleted, after the footage was initially reported as lost and then reported as being found. This marks the latest opportune accident in the scrutiny towards the death of Epstein.
Federal prosecutors stated that officials from the Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) had erroneously saved surveillance footage from a different area of the jail where Epstein was housed.
The reason behind the wrong footage being preserved has been attributed to a clerical error by officials within MCC, according to NBC News. It serves as an interesting explanation of the circumstances, seeing that the term “clerical error” is one of the most used expressions when specific individuals want to deflect blame.
During the time it was reported that Epstein had first attempted to take his own life, he was being housed with an inmate named Nicholas Tartaglione.
Tartaglione, who was a former police officer, was being held in the jail for murder charges. When officials within MCC were looking into whether Epstein’s cellmate had assaulted him instead of Epstein attempting to take his own life, Tartaglione’s attorney asked the jail to preserve the surveillance footage to prove his client’s innocence.
So, when the jail was asked to maintain video surveillance pertaining to a high-profile inmate at the request of an attorney who wanted to use the video to exonerate claims against his client, officials saved the wrong video.
Officials from MCC stated that “a different, incorrect cell” was listed as Tartaglione’s.
Keep in mind, Tartaglione’s cell was also Epstein’s cell, which means that the most notable inmate within the jail somehow had their cell location mismarked, according to officials.
Well, MCC also had a backup system that preserved surveillance data as well, but that miraculously experienced “technical errors” when the correct footage was trying to be retrieved.
The circumstances revolving around the death of Epstein had prompted attorney general William Barr to accost MCC for “serious irregularities” and failing “to adequately secure” such a high-profile prisoner. Alleged victims of Epstein’s exploits, as well as members of Congress, also levied criticism against MCC along with the Bureau of Prisons.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) January 10, 2020
So, while MCC can’t seem to get their hands on the footage detailing the original attempt of suicide by the notorious billionaire pedophile, they do claim to have the footage outside the cells the night of his death.
While the video hasn’t been released publicly, it’s currently being used against two corrections officers, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and with making false records.
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Critics of the indictments brought against the correctional officers feel as though they’re being treated as patsies, mere scapegoats to remove higher-ranking individuals from further scrutiny. While alleged failures regarding bed checks and cellblock walks may have contributed to Epstein’s death, there’s also the fact he was housed alone in a cell with full linens after an alleged suicide attempt.
Another disturbing element in the case of MCC’s blunders is that while hosting roughly 750 inmates, only 18 correctional officers were on duty when Epstein died. How can a jail with 110 officers on staff only manage to schedule 18 officers for a particular shift?
These aspects alone generated scrutiny from several media outlets about the jail being understaffed while Epstein died.
What was all the more interesting to see in the wake of Epstein’s reported suicide, was that notable forensic pathologist Michael Baden reviewed his autopsy and said it suggested homicide, not suicide.
Baden claimed that the broken bones and cartilage just didn’t line up with the typical bone damage sustained in a self-hanging. While those who have reviewed the video footage outside Epstein’s cell the night of his passing swear that no foul play occurred, it’s likely the critics won’t be satisfied until it becomes public.
Video footage of the area around Jeffrey Epstein's jail cell on a day he survived an apparent suicide attempt "no longer exists" federal prosecutors say https://t.co/EGZi33kRPm
— Bloomberg (@business) January 10, 2020
The two correctional officers tasked with guarding billionaire Jeffrey Epstein on the night he died have turned down a plea agreement that would have required them to admit that they falsified official documents.
The rejection of the plea deal has led to speculation that the Justice Department may be preparing to file criminal charges against the correctional officers.
Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) correctional officers found the 66-year-old Tier 3 sex offender hanging in his cell at around 6:30 a.m. on August 10th.
Epstein was transported to New York Downtown Hospital in cardiac arrest before he was declared dead.
New information about the circumstances surrounding the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein shows he reportedly was not checked every 30 minutes, which he should have been. Reports say one of the guards working was not a corrections officer, filling in because of short-staff. pic.twitter.com/YfKBXavUdR
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 13, 2019
The billionaire had been jailed while facing charges for sexually abusing and trafficking children.
Epstein was on suicide watch after authorities believed he tried to kill himself on July 23, shortly after he was denied bail.
He was taken off suicide watch just six days later and returned to the cell he shared with another prisoner in 9 South, a special housing unit (SHU) inside the MCC.
But his roommate was removed from his cell a short time later.
While it is standard practice to put a prisoner who has just been taken off suicide watch in a cell with another prisoner, Epstein didn’t get a new roommate before he allegedly killed himself.
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Officials have said that the guards on duty the night Epstein died were supposed to be checking on him every 30 minutes but had not been back to check on him for roughly three hours. The next time they made rounds, they found him hanging.
The problem, according to sources involved in the investigation say that the guards were falsely recording checks every 30 minutes in the logbook.
Multiple sources have indicated that both employees had been asleep some, or all, of the three-hour period that preceded them finding Epstein hanging from his upper bunk by a bedsheet.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan refused to comment on the plea offer or the guards declination of it.
On November 4th, Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer issued an internal memo addressing the apparent widespread falsification of prison logs.
“Falsification of information in government systems and documents is also a violation of policy, and may be subject to criminal prosecution as well,” Hawk Sawyer noted.
She also said that employees who are indicted by a grand jury will be immediately placed on unpaid suspension pending the outcome of their cases.
Given the circumstances, his death was anything but clear-cut.