Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein found injured in jail cell

Jeffrey Epstein was recently denied bail, a move his lawyers plan to appeal according to a court notice made public on Tuesday. PHOTO: AFP / NEW YORK STATE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - A week after being denied bail, Jeffrey Epstein was found unconscious in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan with marks on his neck, and prison officials were treating the incident as a possible suicide attempt, a law enforcement official who had been briefed on the matter said.

Epstein's injuries were not serious, said the official, who requested his name not be published because he was not authorised to speak on the matter.

A second law enforcement official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Epstein had been discovered in his cell with "bruising around the neck."

The Bureau of Prisons, in an email on Thursday morning (July 25), would give no details about the Tuesday incident, citing "privacy and security reasons."

The bureau said Epstein, 66, was not in a hospital but still at the jail, the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Lower Manhattan, where he has been held on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Epstein's lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Epstein, the financier who is accused of abusing underage girls in the early 2000s, has been housed in a special unit at the jail along with a man facing murder charges named Nicholas Tartaglione, according to Tartaglione's lawyer, Bruce Barket.

Federal prisons use the special units with strict security measures to separate some inmates from the general population.

Tartaglione, a retired police officer, faces federal charges in connection with a 2016 quadruple murder in Chester, New York, a small town about 100km north of Manhattan in the Hudson Valley.

On Wednesday, NBC reported that Tartaglione had been questioned about what happened to Epstein.

In an interview with The Times, Barket said Tartaglione had cooperated with an inquiry into Epstein's injuries but had not been questioned about whether he had assaulted Epstein or accused of an attack.

"Any insinuation that he had assaulted Mr Epstein is a complete and utter fabrication," Barket said.

Barket added that Epstein and his client "speak regularly and get along well."

Barket said that on a visit to see Tartaglione on Wednesday morning, his law partner saw Epstein and said he appeared "physically fine" and had "no obvious marks on him."

Epstein has been detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre since his arrest.

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