Financier accused of sex trafficking hospitalized in unclear condition, with injuries to his neck
Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier facing charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls, was found unconscious in a Manhattan jail cell with injuries to his neck, US media reported late on Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.
Epstein was found by guards sprawled on the floor of his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) on Wednesday, it was reported.
The wealthy financier was taken to hospital, according to the New York Post, but it was unclear where he was taken or what his condition was.
It was not clear how he suffered his injuries. A source familiar with the situation told the Guardian that Epstein had allegedly been attacked. Two anonymous sources told New Yorks local NBC News 4 that Epsteins injuries may have been self-inflicted.
Epstein is now on suicide watch, according to multiple reports.
Lawyers for Nicholas Tartaglione, a former police officer charged in a quadruple homicide case who is also at the jail, responded to reports that he had been questioned in relation to Epsteins alleged injuries.
Any suggestion that Mr Tartaglione assaulted anyone is a complete fabrication. This story is being leaked to retaliate against Mr Tartaglione for complaining to the court about the deplorable conditions at the MCC, Bruce Barket said in a statement.
We made those complaints on Monday in open court. We warned the judge that officials at the jail would retaliate against Nick because we have been exposing the inhumane conditions at the facility.
Neither a representative for the correctional centre nor Epsteins attorney returned calls or email inquiries from the Guardian.
Jeffrey Epstein is currently housed at MCC New York and not in a local hospital as has been reported. As with all inmates, for privacy and security reasons, we do not share information on an inmates medical status or their conditions of confinement, the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement.
Epstein was recently denied bail, a move his lawyers plan to appeal against, according to a court notice made public on Tuesday.
Epstein was expected to ask the second US circuit court of appeals to overturn the judges 18 July rejection of his request to remain under house arrest in his mansion on Manhattans Upper East Side.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to the charges and the appeal for bail was expected. His lawyer, Reid Weingarten, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the US attorney for the southern district of New York, Geoffrey Berman, declined to comment.
The charges, concerning alleged misconduct from at least 2002 to 2005, were announced more than a decade after Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida.
In denying him bail, the US district judge Richard Berman said the government had shown by clear and convincing evidence that Epstein would pose a danger to the community if released pending trial.
The Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan is notorious for holding pre-trial inmates ranging from the Mexican drug lord Joaqun El Chapo Guzmn to terror suspects.
Following his arrest on 6 July, Epstein was initially held into the general population wing but was reportedly moved to solitary protective custody after other inmates threatened him.
Lawyers for Guzmn repeatedly complained that the conditions in the special housing wing were excessively punitive and he was subjected to constant noise, heat and 24-hour light in his cramped cell.
The wing has been called a hellhole, a Guantnamo in New York and the worst in America. One prisoner in solitary confinement said he found Guantnamo to be more pleasant and more relaxed by comparison.
In a 2011 report, Amnesty International said conditions in the 10 South wing amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that was incompatible with the presumption of innocence in the case of untried prisoners whose detention should not be a form of punishment.
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents some of Epsteins accusers, said: I think that it is important that Mr Epstein be protected from self-harm or harm by others so that he will one day be in a condition to face his accusers in a court of law.
In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email [email protected] or [email protected]. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us