New details have emerged about Jeffrey Epstein’s final days alive
New details have emerged about the way disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein spent his final days, before his death behind bars last weekend at the age of 66.
So dismal were the conditions of his cell on the 9 South wing of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York that he would spend up to 12 hours at a time meeting with attorneys, the New York Times reported.
Epstein would routinely meet with his lawyers, all paid handsomely for their time, for so long that he appeared to grow bored and simply sat in silence.
To buy protection from the predations of other inmates, Epstein deposited money in the commissary accounts of at least three other inmates, the Times reported.
The MCC commissary is stocked with such goodies as Snickers bars, Jolly Ranchers and Velveeta cheese, according to documents obtained by DailyMail.com.
Inside the grim brick fortress of MCC New York, Epstein was so miserable in his cell that he paid rotating shifts of lawyers to visit him for 12 hours at a time in the visiting room
A sketch made by another inmate shows the layout of a cell in the 9 South wing, where Epstein was found dead in his cell on August 10
A commissary slip obtained by DailyMail.com shows the items that were available for inmates at MCC NY. Epstein would pay off other inmates with money in their accounts to avoid attacks
During his long meetings with attorneys in a private room, Epstein and his entourage would routinely empty the two vending machines in the visiting area.
‘It was shift work, all designed by someone who had infinite resources to try and get as much comfort as possible,’ a lawyer who was often in the jail visiting clients told the Times.
Although family visits are typically limited to 30 minutes at MCC, inmates have much greater freedom to meet with legal counsel.
The vending machines in the visitors area have typical snacks such as chips, cookies and soda, said Dana Gottesfeld, who routinely visited her husband when he was incarcerated in the 9 South wing at MCC.
Gottesfeld told DailyMail.com that visitors were free to bring money to purchase items from the vending machines – but that inmates had to consume the items in the visiting area and could not bring them back to their cells.
Conditions were so miserable at MCC, said Gottesfeld, that she understood Epstein’s willingness to sit in silence with his attorneys for hours on end just to escape his cell.
‘It’s relentless — they’re in there for 23 to 24 hours a day, they don’t get communal time,’ she said. ‘This is just a horribly, horribly run jail.’
Her husband Marty Gottesfeld, who was convicted of one count of conspiracy to damage protected computers and one count of damaging protected computers, has a lawsuit pending against officials at MCC over conditions there.
A sketch of the 10 South wing, one floor above where Epstein was housed, shows the approximate layout. Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman was housed on this wing
Security personnel and people are seen at the entrance of the MCC in a file photo
After Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges on July 6, he was transferred into federal custody at MCC.
It was a stark change for the opulent lifestyle he was accustomed to at his mansions in Manhattan and Palm Beach, private Caribbean island, and massive ranch in New Mexico.
Epstein’s final days unfold at MCC
On July 18, judge denied Epstein bail, judging him a high flight risk despite his offer to put up his Upper East Side mansion and private jet as collateral.
Five days later, on July 23, Epstein was found with neck injuries on the floor of the cell he shared with Nicholas Tartaglione, a former NYPD cop accused of quadruple murder.
Tartaglione shouted for help and claimed Epstein had attempted to kill himself — but Epstein, who quickly recovered, claimed that he’d been attacked by Tartaglione.
Tartaglione was later cleared of attacking Epstein by jail officials — and Dana Gottesfeld told DailyMail.com that her husband had befriended the muscle-bound ex-cop behind bars and spoke fondly of him.
‘Nick is actually a decent, nice guy, believe it or not. While he has big muscles, and a big stature, his personality is much softer,’ she said, relaying her husband’s impressions.
‘He ran a shelter for abused animals. Marty became doubtful that he even has the wherewithal to pull off what he was accused of in his criminal case.’
Nicholas Tartaglione, a former NYPD cop accused of quadruple murder, was Epstein’s cellmate when he was found injured on July 23. An inmate who knew Tartaglione said he is ‘a decent, nice guy’ who ran a shelter for abused animals
Following his July 23 injury, Epstein was placed on suicide watch and moved into a solitary cell under draconian conditions.
Naked except for a thick, quilted smock that cannot be fashioned into a noose, Epstein would have been in a cell where the lights were never turned off, and there were no bed sheets.
Epstein would have met with a psychologist daily, according to BOP policies.
Six days after his apparent suicide attempt, on July 29, Epstein was taken off suicide watch and returned to 9 South.
Jail officials’ decision to end the suicide watch so quickly has prompted criticism from mental health professionals – but current and former BOP officials say that it is not uncommon to end a suicide watch after just a few days.
On August 1, three days after Epstein was taken off suicide watch, his attorney David Schoen visited him for roughly five hours.
At one point during the visit, Schoen told the Times that a female therapist stopped by the visitor’s room and asked him to step out briefly so she could speak privately with Epstein.
The therapist said the visit was part of the suicide protocol.
‘She stayed max five minutes,’ Schoen said, adding that Epstein ‘said he was fine with it.’
Schoen said that Epstein seemed excited to work with him on the case and confident in their legal strategy.
‘One thing I can say for sure is when I left him he was very, very upbeat,’ Schoen said.
A cell with bunk beds is seen at MCC, similar to the one that Epstein was housed in alone when he was found dead on August 10
In the following days, however, jail staff and lawyers say that Epstein became haggard and distraught.
His hair and beard grew unkempt, and he took to sleeping on the floor of his cell, rather than the bed, sources said.
On August 9, his last day alive, Epstein spent the majority of his day in the private visiting room with attorneys, as he did most days.
As a high-profile inmate, he required extra guards to take him to and from the room – and also requested frequent bathroom breaks that required escorts, wearing staff thin.
Overnight, guards were supposed to check Epstein in his cell every 30 minutes – but the rounds stopped at around 3.30am. Prison officials say that the two guards on duty, both working long overtime hours, fell asleep.
A prison official told the Times that Epstein had one of the cells that has a view of the guards’ duty station from the small window in his door, and may have been able to see if they were in fact sleeping.
At 6.30am on August 10, Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell.
According to official autopsy results announced by the medical examiner on Friday, he died of a suicide by hanging, apparently using a bed sheet tied to the top of a set of bunk beds as a noose.
Epstein’s attorneys do not accept the findings of the autopsy.
‘The defense team fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein’s death,’ they said in a statement. ‘We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner.’