Jeffrey Epstein guards who falsified prison records to avoid jail

The two Bureau of Prisons workers tasked with guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself in a New York jail have admitted they falsified records (AP)
1:21am, Sat 22 May 2021
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Two prison workers tasked with guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself in a New York jail have admitted they falsified records.

The pair will avoid spending time in prison after a deal was struck with federal prosecutors, authorities said on Friday.

The prison workers, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were accused of sleeping and browsing the internet instead of monitoring Epstein the night he took his own life in August 2019.

They were charged with lying on prison records to make it seem as though they had made required checks on the financier before he was found in his cell on August 10.

New York City’s medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide.

Michael Thomas, a federal jail guard responsible for monitoring Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself, will avoid prison time (AP)

As part of the deal with prosecutors, they will enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department and will serve no time behind bars, according to a letter from federal prosecutors that was filed in court papers on Friday.

Noel and Thomas would instead be subjected to supervised release, would be required to complete 100 hours of community service and would be required to fully cooperate with an ongoing probe by the Justice Department’s inspector general, it said.

The two have “admitted that they ‘wilfully and knowingly completed materially false count and round slips regarding required counts and rounds'” in the housing unit where Epstein was being held, the letter said.

The deal for Tova Noel, centre in yellow blouse, will need to be approved by a judge (AP)

The deal would need to be approved by a judge, which could come as soon as next week.

Prosecutors alleged that Noel and Thomas sat at their desks just 15 feet from Epstein’s cell, shopped online for furniture and motorcycles, and walked around the unit’s common area instead of making required rounds every 30 minutes.

During one two-hour period, both appeared to have been asleep, according to the indictment filed against them.

Epstein’s death was a major embarrassment for the federal Bureau of Prisons and highlighted major security and staffing issues within the agency.

It revealed the jail was suffering from problems including chronic staffing shortages that lead to mandatory overtime for guards day after day and other staff being pressed into service as correctional officers.

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