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Prison officers guarding Jeffrey Epstein when he killed himself admit falsifying records

Both will cooperate with the Justice Department’s probe into disgraced financier’s death

Justin Vallejo
New York
Saturday 22 May 2021 15:37 BST
Jeffrey Epstein found dead in prison ahead of sex trafficking trial
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Prison officers guarding Jeffrey Epstein when he was found dead in a New York cell have admitted to falsifying records in a deal that will see them avoid jail time, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities said late on Friday that two Bureau of Prisons workers guarding Epstein the night he died in August 2019 would not face time behind bars on allegations of sleeping and browsing the internet instead of monitoring the disgraced financier.

Tova Noel and Michael Thomas would be subject to supervised release and 100 hours community service for lying on prison records to appear they had made all required checks on Epstein, according to a letter from federal prosecutors filed in court papers on Friday.

While Epstein’s death was ruled a suicide by New York City’s medical examiner, the circumstances leading up to his death – including constant monitoring of his cell – prompted questions on how he was able to take his life without being noticed.

As part of the plea deal, the two prison guards will be required to cooperate with the Justice Department’s probe into the death, AP reported.

In the letter to the court, prosecutors said the prison guards “admitted that they ‘wilfully and knowingly completed materially false count and round slips regarding required counts and rounds’.”

It is alleged they shopped online for furniture and motorcycles 15 feet from Epstein’s cell, and walked around the prison’s common area, rather than doing rounds every 30 minutes as required.

They also both appeared to fall asleep during a two-hour period, according to the reported indictment.

The two had been working overtime and extra shifts at Metropolitan Correctional Centre in lower Manhattan, which federal judge Colleen McMahon said last month was “run by morons”, according to the New York Daily News.

Both Mr Noel and Mr Thomas had argued they were scapegoats for the problems in the Bureau of Prisons. Their union representative Tyrone Covington did not comment when contacted by the outlet.

Union officials have argued that staff reductions are putting both guards and inmates in danger as staff shortages forced guards to work overtime or mandatory double shifts.

Epstein, whose high profile friends included Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, was accused of paying underage girls hundreds of dollars in cash for massages and then sexually abusing them at various locations.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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