Surveillance footage of Jeffrey Epstein's cell during his first alleged suicide attempt at Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City has been lost, and prison officials have attributed it to "technical errors," according to the New York Daily News.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Swergold initially said in court last month that the video had been lost, before changing his story a day later to say it had been archived.
Now, he and fellow Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey say the footage is indeed permanently lost. From the Daily News:
"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 located because the preserved video did not show corrections officers responding to any of the cells seen on the video. After speaking with MCC legal counsel, the Government was informed that the MCC computer system listed a different, incorrect cell for Tartaglione," prosecutors wrote in a letter filed in Manhattan Federal Court.
Even worse, there was a backup system for the video footage, but that wasn't working, either.
"The requested video no longer exists on the backup system and has not since at least August 2019 as a result of technical errors," the prosecutors wrote.
Epstein allegedly attempted to hang himself in his cell in July. Less than three weeks later, he was found dead in a different cell, which he was occupying alone, having apparently hung himself with his bedsheet.
Attorney General William Barr has referred to Epstein's death as a "perfect storm of screw-ups." The guards responsible for watching Epstein stand accused of falsifying records and either sleeping or shopping online while they were supposed to be on duty when he died.
Epstein was in a cell alone, even though he was required to have a cellmate. He had been taken off heightened watch despite his previous alleged suicide attempt. Even though he was supposed to be checked on every half hour, he was left alone for extended periods of time when guards missed or skipped their rounds.
The medical examiner has ruled the death a suicide, but former New York City medical examiner Michael Baden, hired by Epstein's brother, says the injuries to Epstein's neck could indicate homicide, not suicide.