First prosecutors had it, then they didn’t. Then federal officials claimed it had been found. Today, however, prosecutors told a federal judge that the video of the area in which Jeffrey Epstein was held during his first suicide attempt no longer exists. When ordered to produce it pursuant to a motion from Epstein’s cellmate, it turns out that officials saved the wrong video.
Or so they say …
In the latest screw up in Jeffrey Epstein’s death case, federal officials revealed Thursday that video of the cell where the pedophile reportedly made his first suicide attempt was accidentally destroyed.
The surveillance footage was requested by Epstein’s cellmate, accused killer ex-cop Nicholas Tartaglione, who is hoping it will show he “acted appropriately” and earn him a break at sentencing.
Last month, federal prosecutors said the video had been found. But in a letter to the judge on Thursday, they said it turns out that staff at the Metropolitan Correctional Center “inadvertently preserved video from the wrong tier,” and the video from the correct one “no longer exists.”
How in the world is this possible? Supposedly, MCC personnel didn’t keep accurate records of Tartaglione’s cell assignments, leading them to preserve the wrong clip:
The letter claims MCC staff were misled by a computer system that wrongly listed Tartaglione as being housed in a different cell during those dates — and therefore kept the footage from outside that incorrect cell.
Prosecutors say they realized the mistake after the facility turned over footage on Jan. 3.
“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.
To make matters worse, the MCC’s backup system hasn’t been working properly, meaning the video is gone for good.
Well, ain’t that an interesting series of coinky-dinks. The MCC staff didn’t know how their own computers work. They didn’t check the video to make sure they had the right camera view. The back-up system was malfunctioning. And, recall, they inadvertently forgot to place a cellmate in Epstein’s cell after he returned from suicide watch after this incident, too.
Let’s also not forget that somehow prosecutors only discovered this now, rather than when they claimed to have found the correct footage. No one bothered to check on the accuracy of that claim at the time, by, say, watching the video and double-checking the assignments? Come on, man.
Granted, this video is from Epstein’s alleged first attempt at suicide, not the later successful alleged attempt. Reportedly the FBI has that video and it shows no one going in or out of the cell until his body was discovered, but then again, the feds reportedly had this video, too. Add this to the “perfect storm of screw-ups” surrounding Epstein’s incarceration and the questions arising from his autopsies, and it starts looking more and more suspicious. At the very least, it makes everyone involved in the Epstein case look incompetent and dishonest.
The suspicions surrounding Esptein’s suicide won’t just kill themselves. William Barr and the Department of Justice need to start providing a lot more answers.