On Thursday, the day after Jeffrey Epstein girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty in five of the six sex trafficking counts, federal prosecutors announced they had filed notice in Manhattan federal court that they were dropping their criminal case against two Manhattan Bureau of Prisons jail guards who were supposed to guard Jeffrey Epstein the night he reputedly killed himself, August 10, 2019.
Prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss claims against Tova Noel, 33 and Michael Thomas, 43, who were scheduled to have a public hearing on December 16 but was canceled the day before. Both guards had agreed to a no-jail deal in May; prosecutors stated that the two guards had “satisfactorily complied” with the non-prosecution agreement and had completed community service.
In May 2021, Noel and Thomas admitted that they falsified prison records. “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,” The Associated Press reported. “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.”
“The guards, who were supposed to be checking on Epstein every 30 minutes, are accused of checking sports news and shopping for furniture on the internet before taking a nap during Epstein’s death,” The Daily Wire reported. “The two are accused of falsifying prison records to make it look like they had been doing their job during the time of Epstein’s death.”
“After they discovered the high-profile inmate dead at 6.30 a.m., the officers allegedly told a supervisor they had ‘messed up’ and ‘didn’t do any checks’ in the hours before he killed himself,” The Daily Mail noted, adding, “The two guards were required to jointly conduct institutional counts at 4pm, 10pm, 12am, 3am and 5am of the prisoners in the unit. … The pair were only 15ft away from Epstein when he died. Yhey found him dead when they went to serve him breakfast at 6.30am. The last time they checked on him was at 10.30 p.m. the night before.”
AP added more information regarding the Bureau of Prisons:
Epstein’s death and the revelation that he was able to kill himself while behind bars at one of the most secure jails in America was a major embarrassment for the Bureau of Prisons and cast a spotlight on the agency, which has also been besieged by serious misconduct in recent years.
Staffing shortages at the agency are so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work mandatory double shifts. … The falsification of records has been a problem throughout the federal prison system. Union officials have long argued that the reduction of staff is putting both guards and inmates in danger, but they’ve faced an uphill battle getting attention.