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Jeffrey Epstein’s former cellmate sent a handwritten letter from behind bars saying that he never touched the convicted sex offender.
Accused killer Nick Tartaglione, an ex-cop, told the New York Daily News in the two-page note that he was paired with Epstein because he wasn’t a threat to him.
“As far as Jeff Epstein is concerned, I never touched the man,” Tartaglione, 51, said in the letter. “I despise anyone who hurts children but whatever was going to happen to him, I was not going to be a part of it.”
Tartaglione, a former officer for the Briarcliff Manor Police Department, faces charges for quadruple homicide.
“The prison told Epstein they were putting him in a cell with me because they knew I would neither hurt nor extort him,” he wrote. “The staff here at MCC had hundreds of inmates to choose from yet I was their first choice.”
Epstein’s first attempted suicide on July 23 in the cell he shared with Tartaglione. Sources previously told The News that Tartaglione believed he may have saved Epstein’s life by quickly alerting jail staff to the attempted hanging.
Epstein, 66, was moved to suicide watch, separating him from Tartaglione. Sources said at the time that investigators were trying to determine whether Tartaglione had assaulted Epstein.
The sex offender was subsequently taken off of suicide watch and hanged himself on Aug. 10 in a cell he occupied alone. He was awaiting trial on charges that carried a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison.
“At or around the time of his death we did not see a despairing or despondent person,” Epstein’s attorney Reid Weingarten said at a recent hearing for the financier’s victims.
The probe of how the perv with powerful friends managed to kill himself includes an examination of the first attempt, prosecutors have said in court. Tartaglione’s attorney Bruce Barket said he has not been interviewed by investigators since Epstein’s death.
“(Tartaglione) has not been questioned by any law enforcement official since July 23,” Barket said.
“I can’t imagine how they can claim a complete investigation without speaking to the person who was in the cell in that first event.”
A spokesman for the Southern District of New York declined comment.
Attorney General William Barr said “irregularities” have been uncovered at the nightmarish lockup. The jail staff on duty at the time of Epstein’s hanging were reportedly exhausted from working multiple overtime shifts and failed to follow protocol. The MCC is also coping with longstanding staff shortages.
“I still have some faith in the justice system,” Tartaglione wrote. “Every person in this country has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. To anyone who reads this I only ask for that presumption because I haven’t felt it yet in the past 33 months.”
Tartaglione, who has long complained about conditions at MCC, is seeking to be transferred to another federal lockup due to threats he says were made by jail staff after Epstein’s suicide.