Who is Nicholas Tartaglione? Jeffrey Epstein’s cellmate linked to 'suspicious' jail suicide
The death of Jeffrey Epstein has for the longest time fuelled several conspiracy theories. From the role of QAnon to the "deep state", people have been wondering if the suicide was actually a murder. Now, a new book takes those theories further by highlighting the role of the pedophile's cellmate, Nicholas Tartaglione. Tartaglione and Epstein were housed together in a New York jail, which journalist Julie K Brown believes is suspicious.
Epstein's sudden and mysterious death by suicide in August 2019 has become a much-debated topic. Ghislaine Maxwell was one of the first big names to openly embrace the theory that Epstein was killed. In May 2020, it was revealed that Maxwell was "not convinced" Epstein hung himself. The theories gained more steam after the recent death of antivirus pioneer John McAfee. Adding fuel to the fire, in June 2021 Edward Snowden tweeted Julian Assange "could be next".
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None of the theories of Epstein's murder name a person who would have carried out the act, they simply accuse a shadowy faceless organization. Brown has reignited the debate, but this time with an actual person. She claims Tartaglione might have had a role to play. If you are wondering who he is, here's everything we know about him.
Who is Nicholas Tartaglione?
A former Westchester County police officer, Tartaglione was serving time for murdering four people during a drug deal. A career police officer, he first served the Mount Vernon and Pawling Police department in the 1990s. In 1996, he moved to the Briarcliff Manor Police Department (BMPD). In 1996, the department fired him after he was arrested on perjury charges. Reportedly, Tartaglione lied to prosecutors about a drunk driving case but was acquitted at trial. Nonetheless, the department decided to fire him on "departmental charges".
It's unclear what he did next, but in 2003 he sued the BMPD for his job back, and $320,000 in payback. While his wrongful arrest suit was dismissed, Tartaglione managed to get his job back and served on the force until 2008, when he retired. He then reportedly spent his time working on animal rescue projects, taking care of horses and dogs on a 65-acre property in Orange County.
On December 19, 2016, Tartaglione was arrested and accused of killing four men in a drug deal gone wrong. Tartaglione was also charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. One of the men, Martin Luna, was killed at Tartaglione's brother's bar 'Likquid Lounge' in Chester. The other three were reportedly taken to Otisville, where they were shot dead in April 2016. Their bodies were found at the property, which Tartaglione was renting at the time.
In March 2019, prosecutors asked for the death penalty in the case, which was the first time since 1953 the penalty would have been used. Over five years since first being arrested, Tartaglione is yet to get a trial date. Legal complications and Covid-19 have repeatedly pushed back any dates. The last known update was in April 2021, when a review of his legal team's conflict of interest ended. The judge ruled that one attorney had to be removed, but others could stay on. With that out of the way, it is likely he could be tried sometime later this year, or in 2022.
Tartaglione and Epstein
With the debates around his case ongoing, Tartaglione has been housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where he eventually became the cellmate of Epstein. In the summer of 2019, Epstein reportedly tried to hang himself but was saved by Tartaglione. In August, Epstein died, this time there was no Tartaglione to save him. So what happened? That's the question Brown attempts to answer in her book 'Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story'.
Brown notes a "series of suspicious events" that occurred prior to Epstein's death. For one, Tartaglione allegedly had access to an illegal cellphone. "Prison officials said it was inadvertently destroyed. Tartaglione had an illegal cell phone, but the government wasn't releasing its contents. To this day, authorities have never released a report on their investigation into the event," Brown wrote. Also being questioned is the mysterious disappearance of the surveillance footage from the cell, which could have cleared up the mystery once and for all.
Brown also wondered how the pedophile could be housed with an alleged quadruple murderer. "For reasons that remain unexplained to this day, the Metropolitan Correctional Center had bunked a hulking accused quadruple murderer with a sixty-six-year-old nerd with an egg-shaped penis who happened to be the nation's most famous child molester," she wrote. The book also talks about Epstein's broken hyoid, a fracture that is commonly associated with homicides.
Together, these statements raise the question — did Tartaglione kill Epstein? According to Tartaglione's lawyer, that's false. The Daily Mail reported the lawyer claimed the two were "friendly", and that he played no role in Epstein's death. Whether Tartaglione killed Epstein or facilitated the suicide, we may never know. It will mostly be another one of the several conspiracy theories surrounding Epstein's death.