Jeffrey Epstein was a convicted sex offender and a wealthy financier with powerful friends. 60 Minutes examines the circumstances surrounding his death in a Manhattan federal jail cell. Warning: This report contains graphic images.
In July 2019, Jeffrey Epstein, already a convicted sex offender, was arrested and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors. On August 10, Epstein was found dead in his federal jail cell at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC).
The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Epstein’s death a suicide by hanging, but a forensic pathologist who observed the four-hour autopsy on behalf of Epstein’s brother, Mark, tells 60 Minutes the evidence released so far points more to murder than suicide in his view. Dr. Michael Baden’s key reason: the unusual fractures he saw in Epstein’s neck.
“There were fractures of the left, the right thyroid cartilage and the left hyoid bone,” Baden said. “I have never seen three fractures like this in a suicidal hanging.”
“Going over a thousand jail hangings, suicides in the New York City state prisons over the past 40-50 years, no one had three fractures,” Baden said.
The medical examiner’s office said it stands “firmly” behind its finding of suicide by hanging, arguing that fractures of the hyoid bone and cartilage can be seen in both suicides and homicides.
Still, questions linger.
Epstein was directing money to be deposited in other inmates’ commissary accounts in exchange for protection, sources say, because he feared for his life. But the government says Epstein was suicidal and made his first, failed suicide attempt weeks after he arrived at MCC.
According to a federal indictment, on July 23 Epstein was found “on the floor of his cell with a strip of bedsheet around his neck.” The government says it was a failed suicide attempt, but Epstein claimed his cellmate, 52-year-old former police officer Nick Tartaglione, attacked him. Tartaglione, who is accused of murdering four men, denied that and his lawyer says: “Absolutely nothing like that happened.” His lawyer also says Tartaglione was cleared by jail officials.
Epstein was put on suicide watch after the incident, but one week later, “at the direction of the MCC’s psychological staff,” he was taken off suicide watch and “required to have an assigned cellmate.”
Cameron Lindsay, a former federal warden and prison consultant, told 60 Minutes this was “a monumental failure on all levels.”…[ ]