Accused pedophile and wealthy Manhattan financier Jeffrey Epstein, 66, may have tried to hang himself in his New York City jail cell where he was found semi-conscious and in a fetal position, NBC News4 NewYork reported.
Epstein is being held in Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan during his trial for conspiracy and sex trafficking. He was denied bail on July 18 after a search warrant revelation that he had a fake Saudi passport and piles of cash stashed in his safe.
A registered sex offender, Epstein is facing new federal charges of exploiting dozens of underage girls in Florida and New York in the early 2000s. A U.S. district judge determined he was a flight risk and danger to the community. Epstein must remain in jail pending trial. The date has yet to be set.
Epstein started his financial management firm, J. Epstein & Co. in 1982 with the goal of managing the assets of clients who have more than a billion dollars in net worth.
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The owner of a $77 million Manhattan mansion and a 70-acre private island in the Carribbean called Little St. James, Epstein’s net worth is the source of speculation. Celebrity Net Worth pegs it at $1 billion. Forbes insists there’s no proof Epstein is a billionaire: “The source of his wealth—a money management firm in the U.S. Virgin Islands—generates no public records, nor has his client list ever been released,” Forbes reported.
Workers at the airstrip on St. Thomas said they saw Epstein flying to his private island with young girls after he’d been convicted as a pedophile and had to register as a sex offender, Vanity Fair reported.
Epstein’s name has been linked to several famous friends and acquaintances including former President Bill Clinton, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, Prince Andrew The Duke of York, New York Daily News former owner Mort Zuckerman, and actor-director Woody Allen. Attorney General Bill Barr recused himself from the 2008 plea deal but not from the new investigation, New York Magazine reported.
Epstein has hung out with Donald Trump. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
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Investigators are trying to determine exactly what happened after Epstein was found with marks on his neck in his jail cell, News 4 reported.
Two sources told News 4 that Epstein may have tried to hang himself. A third source said that the injuries were not serious and suggested Epstein might be using his injury to get a transfer. A fourth source said Epstein may have been assaulted by another inmate in his unit. The inmate had been questioned.
Investigators talked to inmate Nicholas Tartaglione, a former police officer in Westchester County who was arrested in December 2016 and accused of killing four men in an alleged cocaine distribution conspiracy, then burying their bodies in his yard, according to court records.
Bruce Barket, the attorney for the former cop, denied his client attacked Epstein and said the two get along well. Barket said Tartaglione and Epstein had complained about conditions inside the jail including flooding, rodents and bad food.
Epstein’s lawyers had asked for their client to be released on house arrest with electronic monitoring at his Manhattan mansion. They said he wouldn’t flee and was willing to put up $559 million as collateral, News 4 reported.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said the proposed bail package was “irretrievably inadequate” and added, “I doubt any bail package can overcome his danger to the community.”
Meanwhile, more women have contacted prosecutors in recent days to say Epstein abused them when they were underage. Berman said victims’ testimony impacted his decision, along with Epstein’s alleged history of intimidating, threatening and paying off witnesses or other parties involved in the case.
One of the accusers, Courtney Wild, asked the judge to deny bail. She said Epstein started sexually abusing her when she was 14 in Palm Beach. He “will never stop sexually abusing children until he is in jail” she told reporters at a news conference in New York on Tuesday.
Epstein was convicted in a Florida state court in 2008 of soliciting a prostitute and of procuring a 17-year-old girl for prostitution. He served 13 months in “custody with work release” as part of a plea deal where federal officials had identified 36 victims. The plea deal gave Epstein immunity from all federal criminal charges. Epstein was arrested again on July 6, 2019, on federal charges for sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York.