Surveillance footage monitoring the outside of Jeffrey Epstein’s cell during his first suicide attempt in July 2019 has disappeared, according to a report.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Swergold stated in a Thursday court filing that the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) preserved footage within the investigation, but it was the wrong cell, the New York Post reported.
“The Government has learned that the MCC inadvertently preserved video from the wrong tier within the MCC, and, as a result, video from outside the defendant’s cell on July 22–23, 2019 (i.e. the requested video) no longer exists,” the letter reads.
The admission comes after Swergold told White Plains, New York, federal Judge Kenneth Karas in December that the footage was gone, but then backtracked on his statement the next day and claimed it had been preserved.
An attorney for Epstein’s one-time cellmate, Nicholas Tartaglione, has been looking for the footage to prove that his client was not responsible for Epstein’s neck injuries which he sustained weeks before his suicide.
Tartaglione is a former police officer awaiting trial for a quadruple homicide. The letter claims that a computer system mistakenly listed Tartaglione as being housed in a different cell between those dates— and therefore recorded the footage outside the incorrect cell.
“After reviewing the video, it appeared to the Government that the footage contained on the preserved video was for the correct date and time, but captured a different tier than the one where Cell-1 was,” reads the letter, referring to the cell shared by Tartaglione and Epstein.
Because the MCC’s computer backup system has been having technical issues, it is likely that the footage is gone for good.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation … reviewed that backup system as part of an unrelated investigation and determined that the requested video no longer exists on the backup system and has not since at least August 2019 as a result of technical errors,” prosecutors wrote.
Epstein, 66, was found dead in his jail cell on August 10 while awaiting trial on several federal sex trafficking charges.
The New York City medical examiner officially ruled his death as a suicide by hanging.