Jeffrey Epstein has been accused of sex-trafficking girls as young as 14-years-old

By Joelle Goldstein
July 25, 2019 12:33 AM
Jeffrey Epstein
Rick Friedman/Getty Images

Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was reportedly found injured in his New York City jail cell on Tuesday.

Nearly three weeks after he was first arrested for allegedly sex-trafficking girls as young as 14, the businessman was discovered lying in a fetal position with marks on his neck in his cell at Metropolitan Correctional Center, NBC 4 reports.

Epstein, 66, was said to have been semi-conscious at the time guards discovered him, according to the local outlet.

Though it was not clear how he was injured, Radar Online reports that the medical emergency, which happened in the early morning of July 23, was a result of a suicide attempt.

An assault on Epstein by another inmate is also being investigated as a possible cause of his injuries, sources told to NBC 4.

A representative at the Bureau of Prisons and the Metropolitan Correctional Center did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Epstein’s lawyer also did not immediately respond when contacted by PEOPLE.

Jeffrey Epstein
Rick Friedman/Getty Images

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Nicholas Tartaglione, a former Westchester County police officer who was accused of killing four men in an alleged cocaine distribution conspiracy and then burying their bodies in his Otisville yard, is reportedly being investigated for allegedly attacking Epstein, NBC 4 reports.

Tartaglione’s attorney, however, denied that his client attacked Epstein and tells PEOPLE that he is being framed after making a complaint in court earlier this week about the “deplorable conditions” at Metropolitan Correctional Center.

“Any suggestion that Mr. Tartaglione assault anyone is a complete fabrication,” attorney Bruce Barket says. “This story is being leaked to retaliate against Mr. Tartaglione for complaining to the court about the deplorable conditions at the MCC.”

“We made those complaints on Monday in open court,” he adds. “We warned the judge that officials at the jail would retaliate against Nick because we have been exposing the inhumane conditions at the facility.”

Jeffrey Epstein
Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty

RELATED: Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Indicted on Accusations He Sexually Abused Girls as Young as 14

The medical emergency comes less than a week after Epstein was denied bail following a search warrant that revealed he had a fake passport and stacks of cash hidden in his safe.

The U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said Epstein was considered a flight risk and danger to the community, ordering him to remain behind bars pending trial, which has not yet been set.

Epstein’s attorneys said they plan to appeal the bail ruling, according to NBC 4.

Earlier this month, PEOPLE confirmed that Epstein, who is well-known for his high-profile connections in the business and political worlds, was accused of sex-trafficking girls as young as 14 years old.

The businessman is charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. He faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison if convicted.

Jeffrey Epstein
Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty

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According to a federal indictment unsealed on July 8, Epstein “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes.” The alleged incidents occurred in several locations, including Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida. The indictment alleges Epstein paid some victims to recruit additional victims.

The indictment alleges that Epstein would begin his illegal sexual encounters with a “massage” before he would “escalate the nature and scope of physical contact with his victim.”

He was arrested on July 6 after his private jet arrived from France, USA Today reported, and pleaded not guilty in a New York courtroom just two days later, according to CNN.

In a hearing on July 8, a prosecutor told the judge that several people have contacted the US Attorney’s office to allege they were victims of Epstein. According to CNN, the prosecutor also told the judge that Epstein has refused to answer questions about his wealth or assets.

RELATED VIDEO: U.S. Navy Seals and Retired Police Join Forces to Rescue Human Trafficking Teen Victims

This is not the first time that Epstein has faced sex charges. In 2008, he pleaded guilty in Florida to soliciting a person under 18 for prostitution.

PEOPLE confirmed he was sentenced to 13 months in jail, although he served much of the time in work release at his office in Palm Beach.  He was required to register as a sex offender.

Epstein’s attorney, Reid Weingarten, told the judge that the indictment is just a rehash of the 2008 Florida investigation — and that there is no new information in the latest documents.

“To us, this indictment is essentially a do-over,” Weingarten told the court. “This is the very stuff that was investigated by the feds in Florida.”

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