WHITE PLAINS — Federal correction officers found an illicit cellular phone in the cell of an ex-cop charged with killing four Middletown men, according to federal court documents.
Nicholas Tartaglione, 51, a former Briarcliff Manor police officer who lived on Old Mountain Road near Otisville, faces 17 federal counts, including four counts of murder in furtherance of a narcotics conspiracy. Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
According to a letter prosecutors filed on Monday, corrections staff at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan saw Tartaglione holding a mini cellular phone in his hand on July 3 while in his cell. Tartaglione told staff that his cellmate had tossed the phone to him as the officers approached. Federal prosecutors said they intend to seek a search warrant to examine the phone’s contents, and have the Bureau of Prisons to transfer the phone to FBI custody. They said they need clarification on whether Tartaglione still contests ownership of the mini-phone, which may only be capable of making voice calls.
Tartaglione lawyers Bruce Barket, Aida Leisenring, Anthony Ricco and Bruce Koffsky wrote a letter Friday to federal Judge Kenneth Karas, saying there could be privileged material in communications stored on the phone. They asked the judge to require not just a search warrant, but also to designate a “filter team” or “taint team,” members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to isolate potentially privileged information from the trial prosecutors until the judge rules on the issue.
Barket said Monday that the defense team is not conceding that the phone belonged to Tartaglione, but filed the request as a precaution to protect his rights.
Jeffrey Epstein was reportedly found injured in a New York City jail cell on Tuesday after a possible suicide attempt.
Epstein, 66, was discovered at the Metropolitan Correctional Center nearly unconscious and with wounds to his neck, law enforcement sources told the New York Post.
The wealthy financier was transported to a nearby hospital.
It was not immediately clear how Epstein incurred his injuries, but sources told the news outlet Epstein might have intentionally harmed himself in a bid to get transferred from the jail. Epstein also might have been attacked by an inmate at the facility in downtown Manhattan, according to the report.
Epstein — whose powerful friends over the years have included President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew — was arrested on July 6 on sex trafficking charges. He pleaded not guilty to accusations he ran a trafficking operation involving underage girls.
Epstein allegedly created and maintained a "vast network" and operation from 2002 "up to and including" 2005, enabling him to "sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls" in addition to paying victims to recruit other underage girls.
Per prosecutors, he "worked and conspired with others, including employees and associates" who helped facilitate his conduct by contacting victims and scheduling their sexual encounters.
The politically-connected millionaire was denied bail, which a judge said was because of Epstein's overseas connections and extraordinary wealth. His lawyers publicly filed a notice on Tuesday appealing the judge's decision to keep him jailed until trial.
Of course, they are ..‘Surviving R. Kelly’ team to produce ‘Surviving Jeffrey Epstein’ series