The prison guards who failed to monitor the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein the night he died will not be subjected to jail time under a deal struck with federal prosecutors.
Authorities said the deferred prosecution agreement with Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, two Bureau of Prisons workers, shows they admitted to falsifying prison records that claimed they made the required checks on Epstein before he was found dead in his New York City jail cell in 2019, according to a letter filed in court papers reported by the Associated Press on Friday.
Instead of jail time, Noel and Thomas would receive a supervised release, be required to complete 100 hours of community service, and be expected to cooperate fully with an investigation that’s being conducted by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
Epstein, who was arrested in July 2019, was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy for allegedly abusing girls as young as 14. He pleaded not guilty to the charges before he was found dead in his Manhattan prison cell in August. His death was ruled as a suicide by the New York City medical examiner’s office.
Prosecutors allege Noel and Thomas were just 15 feet away from Epstein’s cell when they were shopping online for furniture and motorcycles. The two also allegedly walked around the unit’s common area instead of making their required checks every half-hour and appeared to have fallen asleep during a two-hour period.
The officers’ deal with prosecutors needs to be approved by a judge, who could make a decision as soon as next week. Noel and Thomas previously declined a plea deal in 2019.
Sen. Ben Sasse, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and has raised several questions about Epstein’s oversight while in prison, called for a full BOP report on the events of the night Epstein died.
“The leader of an international child sex trafficking ring escaped justice, his co-conspirators had their secrets go to the grave with him, and these guards are going to be picking up trash on the side of the road,” the Nebraska Republican said in a statement. “The public deserves a full report of the Bureau of Prisons’ failures and Main Justice needs to redouble its work to bring every one of Epstein’s co-conspirators to justice.”
Author : Mica Soellner
Source : Washington Examiner : Jeffrey Epstein prison guards admit to falsifying records in deal to avoid jail time