Surveillance footage from outside deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s cell captured during a failed suicide attempt in July has gone missing, prosecutors revealed in court on Dec. 18.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Swergold said nobody can find the video, which shows the outside of the cell Epstein shared at the time with Nick Tartaglione, a former police officer accused of killing four people.
“It is our understanding … that the video no longer exists. It was not preserved,” Swergold told the court in New York on Wednesday, according to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News.
Bruce Barket, an attorney for Tartaglione, confirmed that the video has gone missing, telling the paper that it is “shocking” that jail officials apparently did not preserve the video.
“It is on the surface troubling,” Barket told the New York Daily News. “I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve found out more details.”
Tartaglione’s attorneys asked for the footage to be preserved two days after the failed attempt, which took place on July 23.
“I don’t know the details of how it was lost or destroyed or why it wasn’t retained when it should have been,” Barket told the New York Post.
“We want to be sure that all the evidence is preserved to show that Nick behaved appropriately and even admirably that evening. We asked for all the video and photographic evidence to be preserved, specifically this surveillance video. Now it’s gone.”
Judge Kenneth Karas told the government to try to figure out what happened to the footage.
Tartaglione has been accused of trying to kill Epstein but has denied wrongdoing, claiming he actually intervened when Epstein tried to kill himself. After the incident in July, Epstein was reportedly housed in a cell without a cellmate.
Barket has said that the story of his client trying to kill Epstein was fabricated in retaliation for Tartaglione complaining about the conditions at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
The federal prison was housing Epstein, 66, as he awaited trial on child sex trafficking charges. The multi-millionaire financier was found unconscious again in August and was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The medical examiner ruled his cause of death suicide, though some lawmakers and medical experts have said evidence pointed to homicide.
Three investigations into Epstein’s suicide are ongoing and two guards on duty at the time were charged with falsifying prison records. The guards said in court that they’re being scapegoated.