“There will be a price to pay,” guards warned Epstein’s cellmate, if he ever spoke about jail conditions or Epstein’s suicide.
But despite threats, Jeffrey Epstein’s cellmate, Nicholas Tartaglione, has come forward with new accusations against the jail’s guards.
Tartaglione is a former police officer who is facing the death penalty for murder charges. He briefly shared a cell with Epstein at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, and he was Epstein’s cellmate when the financier was found unresponsive after an attempted suicide on July 23rd.
The ex-cop was transferred out of the cell in the facility’s Special Housing Unit sometime after that, though it was not clear why he was moved. This left Epstein without a cellmate when he took his own life on August 10th.
Tartaglione’s lawyer, Burce Barket, filed a letter on Tuesday to federal judge Kenneth Karas in White Plains, New York. In that letter, Barket says that he and his client, Tartaglione, were told to ‘stop talking,’ ‘shut up,’ and ‘stop complaining,’ “to name a few of the comments various guards have made.”
In his letter, Barket is asking that Tartaglione be moved to a new facility. According to Barket, the very officers charged with guarding him know that he has information that is “potentially very damaging” to them and their coworkers. The fact that Tartaglione is a critical witness in the July 23rd incident “makes his continued detention at the MCC inappropriate.”
Aside from the alleged harassment from MCC staff, Barket is also citing “deplorable” prison conditions as a reason for his client to be moved to another facility.
Barket says that the facility has “serious” insect and rodent infestation problems and water leaks. Tartaglione said that he is forced to drink from a moldy sink, and he does not have access to regular showers.
The account from Barket’s letter on behalf of his client is similar to a report from the New York Times that cited lawyers and other prison inmates, in which they described Epstein’s cell as cramped, musty, and likely infested with pests. They said that it is possible that Epstein encountered standing water, overflowing urine and feces from the facility’s faulty plumbing.
While at the facility, Epstein reportedly paid for lawyers to spend up to 12 hours with him in a private meeting room in order to avoid spending time in his cell.