Nicholas Tartaglione is a former New York police officer who was questioned in relation to Jeffrey Epstein’s July 2019 “suicide attempt” after which prison guards found the disgraced financier in the “fetal position” inside of his jail cell.
On August 10, Epstein appeared to have succeeded in a suicide attempt as he pronounced dead after being found hanging in his jail cell. At the time of his death, Epstein was not on suicide watch. He was 66 years old.
In December 2016, Tartaglione, who had already left the Briarcliff Police Department, was arrested and accused of killing four men, Martin Luna, Miguel Luna, Urbano Santiago, and Hector Gutierrez, as part of a cocaine conspiracy. The victims were found inside a property in Otisville that had been rented in the past by Tartaglione. Tartaglione and Epstein are both being held at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while awaiting trial.
On the morning of July 25, it was widely reported that Jeffrey Epstein was found injured in his jail cell in New York City after trying to hang himself. Epstein was arrested on July 6 and accused by federal authorities of sex trafficking minors in Florida and New York.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. At the Time of Writing, Epstein Is on Suicide Watch
NBC New York reports that Tartaglione was questioned in relation to the incident. In addition, a source told the station that Epstein’s injuries were not serious and that the suicide attempt may have been a ruse to gain a jail transfer. At the time of writing, Epstein is on suicide watch.
2. Tartaglione’s Lawyer Said the Ex-Cop & Epstein Get on Well on Jail & Have Made Complaints About Living Conditions Recently
Tartaglione has claimed innocence in the matter, according to NBC New York’s report.
His lawyer, Bruce Barket, told the station that Epstein and his client are in the same prison united and are “doing well.” Barket added that any allegations that Tartaglione had anything to do with Epstein’s injuries are “absolutely not true.” The lawyer went on to say that both Epstein and Tartaglione had recently been complaining about conditions in the jail, including issues over mice and rats, food, as well as flooding.
3. Earlier in July, Prison Guards Confiscated a Cell Phone from Tartaglione, Reports Said
Tartaglione was last in the news on July 3 when Lo Hud reported that prison guards had confiscated a cell phone from him.
The ex-cop denied the phone was his and said that a fellow inmate had tossed to him during a search. While in 2018, Tartaglione’s said that the former cop had been assaulted in custody and needed surgery on a broken eye socket.
4. A Neighbor Said Tartaglione’s Property ‘Smelled of Death’ in the Lead-Up to the Discovery of 4 Bodies There
On April 11, 2016, Martin Luna, Miguel Luna, Urbano Santiago, and Hector Gutierrez, went missing after last being seen entering a bar owned by Tartaglione’s brother. The bar, Likquid Lounge, in Chester, New York, was the site of Martin Luna’s murder, prosecutors say. Authorities allege that the three other men were taken to Otisville, New York, where they were shot dead.
Prosecutors described the killings of the four men as being “gangland-style,” reports the New York Times.
While the New York Daily News reports that the killings were motivated over a 5-kilo cocaine deal that went bad. A neighbor told the Daily News that in the lead up to the discovery of the dead bodies on the property in Otisville, “it smelled of death” in the area. The bodies were not discovered until eight months after the shooting.
5. Tartaglione Could Be the 1st Person Executed on Federal Crimes in New York Since 1953
In March 2019, it was announced that prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Tartaglione. The former cop’s lawyer said at the time, “Unfortunate, despicable, unnecessary, unjust, egregious, thoughtless, pointless; those are all words that came to my mind.” Bruce Barket said that his client had taken the news of the decision “pretty well, all things considered… He’s more concerned about the time, the extra time it will take. He’s focused like we all are on the first part of the trial.”
The last execution in New York for a federal crime was the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the married couple who were found guilty of espionage in 1953. The couple was alleged to have spied on behalf of the Soviet Union.