Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found “in some kind of medical distress” in his cell at a Manhattan jail, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Daily Beast.
“He had apparent bruising on his neck,” the source said, adding that he was “medically OK” by Wednesday.
Exactly what happened to Epstein inside the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center remains shrouded in mystery and conflicting reports.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons said in a statement only that Epstein is still at the MCC and not in a local hospital. “As with all inmates, for privacy and security reasons, we do not share information on an inmate's medical status or their conditions of confinement,” the statement said.
According to sources cited by NBC New York, which first reported on the Tuesday incident, the wealthy sex offender was said to have been semi-conscious when he was found.
Two sources cited by NBC said he may have attempted to hang himself, while another source suggested the injuries were so minor that he may have simply been trying to get himself transferred. An assault has also not been ruled out, with a fourth source saying a former police officer serving time on drug and murder charges has been questioned.
After initially being put into the general population at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Epstein had been moved to solitary protective custody after other inmates threatened him, another source familiar with his conditions has told The Daily Beast.
Epstein’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But Bruce Barket, an attorney for another inmate on the same Special Housing Unit, told The Daily Beast that his law partner saw Epstein and his attorneys at the MCC on Wednesday morning “and he looked fine.”
Barket said a report that his client, Nick Tartaglione, had been questioned about a possible assault on Epstein was inaccurate. He alleged that his name was leaked by someone at the jail in retaliation for complaints about “hellhole” conditions there.
“They know each other and have gotten along well,” Barket said of his client and Epstein.
Epstein has been locked up at the MCC since he was arrested July 6 after arriving back in the United States from France.
He asked to be released on bail and put on house arrest at his $77 million Manhattan mansion, offering to pay for security cameras and armed guards and to let a “trustee” live there with him.
But U.S. District Judge Richard Berman shot down the request earlier this week, finding that Epstein was a flight risk and unable to control his sexual urges. Epstein’s team has since filed papers to appeal that decision.
Barket said both his client and Epstein are in the Special Housing Unit, where restrictions compound what he described as “inhumane” conditions across the entire MCC—including insect and rodent infestation, dirty linens, and broken equipment.
“The whole place is a disaster from top to bottom,” Barket said.
—Additional reporting by Tracy Connor