Medical examiners Friday said accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide. He was found dead while in the custody of federal officials last week.
Questions had swirled around Epstein’s death after he was arrested on child trafficking charges. Epstein was also found injured three weeks prior to his death.
According to NBC News, his cellmate at the time, Nicholas Tartaglione, has now been cleared of any wrongdoing.
That incident left Epstein with marks on his neck, and prompted Epstein to be placed on suicide watch.
But jail officials also looked into whether Tartaglione, a former cop facing murder charges, was in any way involved in Epstein’s injury. NBC News cites Tartaglione’s lawyer, who told the outlet that his client had been cleared.
That finding had apparently been made one day before Epstein died. That means the most likely explanation of that initial incident was an attempt at self-harm.
Yet Epstein was removed from suicide watch just prior to his death.
Even without being placed on suicide watch, guards at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) were supposed to check on inmates every 30 minutes. But a CBS report detailed that two guards apparently fell asleep, then falsified logs to make it appear they had conducted those checks.
Attorney General Bill Barr has ordered an investigation into Epstein’s death.
Epstein was facing up to 45 years in prison on those trafficking charges, filed by the Southern District of New York.
The recent arrest drew national attention after Epstein escaped serious punishment back in 2008.
At that time, he faced allegations of sleeping with several underage girls. Epstein allegedly had several people who helped recruit underage girls to give him massages. Those massages would then turn sexual.
The Southern District of Florida, run by then-U. S. Attorney Alex Acosta, declined to pursue federal charges back in 2008. That left Epstein to serve just 13 months under state charges. Most of that time was spent on supervised release.
That investigation pertains to allegations Epstein was left unsupervised for periods of time while on release, during which time he may have continued to abuse young girls. That investigation is slated to continue despite Epstein’s death.