Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was reportedly found injured in his New York City jail cell early Tuesday morning, nearly three weeks after he was first arrested for allegedly sex-trafficking girls as young as 14. The financier 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 reportedly semi-conscious at the time guards discovered him. Although it was not immediately clear how he was injured, RadarOnline reports that the medical emergency was a result of a suicide attempt. However, NBC 4 also reports that an assault on Epstein by another inmate is being investigated as a possible cause of his injuries.
Sources told the local news outlet that 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 yard, is being investigated for allegedly attacking Epstein.
However, Tartaglione's attorney denied that he attacked Epstein, claiming that he is being framed after making a complain in court earlier this week about the "deplorable conditions" at Metropolitan Correctional Center. "Any suggestion that Mr. Taglione [assaulted] anyone is a complete fabrication," attorney Bruce Market told PEOPLE. "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 Monday in open court," he added. "We warned the judge that officials at the jail would retaliate against Nick because we have been exposing the inhumane conditions at the facility."
The incident comes less than a week after Epstein was denied bail after a search warrant revealed he had a fake passport and stacks of cash hidden in his safe. The U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said Epstein was a flight risk and a danger to the community, and ordered him to remain behind bars pending his trial, which hasn't yet been set.
Epstein's attorneys said they plan to appeal the bail ruling, NBC 4 reports.
Earlier this month, Epstein was accused of sex-trafficking girls as young as 14 years old. The highly-connected businessmen is charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison.
A federal indictment unsealed on July 8 details that Epstein "sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes," in several locations, including Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida. The indictment also alleges Epstein paid some victims to recruit additional victims.
According to the indictment, Epstein — who pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting a person under 18 for prostitution — 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, according to USA TODAY, and pleaded not guilty in a New York courtroom two days later.
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