Nicholas Tartaglione, a former police officer awaiting trial in a quadruple murder case, was sharing a cell with Epstein at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, New York, in July when Epstein was placed on a suicide watch after being discovered with bruises on his neck.
Despite that Tartaglione’s attorney, Bruce Barket, requested the footage two days after the July 23 suicide attempt, the lawyer told FOX Business on Thursday: “It’s gone.”
“We had written to the jail on July 25 and asked them to preserve” the video, “and they confirmed they would,” he said. “When we asked the U.S. Attorney’s office to get it and provide it to us, they told us it’s gone.”
The topic of the missing recording arose during a Wednesday status conference at a federal court in White Plains, New York.
“Destroyed, erased might be the right term, missing might be,” Barket said, adding: “What we were told when we asked for it is that the video was not retained.”
Barket, who has represented Tartaglione for three years, noted that the jail has already cleared his client of wrongdoing in the attempted suicide but called officials’ inability to find the tape “a bit of a problem.”
Tartaglione is charged in what authorities described as the “gangland-style” killings of four men from Middletown, New York, who disappeared during a cocaine-related dispute at a bar in nearby Chester.
The footage could be beneficial to the former police officer’s defense in his murder trial, for which he could face the death penalty, because it could be an example of his moral character, the New York Daily News reported.
Epstein, who was reportedly worth more than $550 million, was charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy in July, but the criminal charges against him were later dropped after he was found dead on Aug. 10.
A New York City medical examiner deemed he had committed suicide by hanging, but experts and even elected officials said they still have questions surrounding his death.
Authorities are still investigating potential co-conspirators. Meanwhile, several accusers have filed civil lawsuits against the financier's estate.
In November, executors of Epstein's estate submitted court papers requesting “expedited approval” for the establishment of the fund, officials announced in a press release. The program "will allow eligible individuals the opportunity to resolve their sexual abuse claims against Mr. Epstein and his Estate through a confidential, non-adversarial alternative to litigation."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.