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Two jail guards tasked with guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself have admitted to falsifying jail records about their activities that night, but will avoid jail time in proposed deal with prosecutors.
Manhattan federal correction officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas were accused of failing to conduct the required rounds on Epstein and other prisoners in the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s special housing unit, opting instead to spend their shift surfing on the internet and sleeping on the job.
The guards were charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the correctional center and making false records in November 2019—months after Epstein was found dead in his cell on August 10, 2019, according to a statement from the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The convicted pedophile was found dead in his cell with a bedsheet, serving as a makeshift noose, wrapped around his neck around 6:30 a.m. by the two guards after he committed suicide overnight, according to authorities.
In a letter obtained by Oxygen.com to United States District Judge Analisa Torres laying out the proposed deal with prosecutors, United States Attorney Audrey Strauss said Noel and Thomas have admitted to “willfully and knowingly” falsifying documents claiming to have completed the necessary checks in the jail unit on Aug. 9, 2019 and Aug. 10, 2019 in an effort to disguise their actual activities.
Strauss said in the letter filed Friday that prosecutors believe the “interests of justice will be best served” by deferring prosecution in the case in favor of a plea agreement with the two guards that would include six months of supervised release, 100 hours of community service and their cooperation in a pending Department of Justice Office of Inspector General review of the events surrounding Epstein’s death, according to the letter.
The agreement would need to be approved by a judge before it would be finalized.
Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to comment to Oxygen.com about the proposed agreement.
Shortly after details of the deal were made public, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a statement condemning the agreement.
“Apparently, the Justice Department hasn’t finished embarrassing itself yet,” he wrote. “This is unacceptable. Epstein’s victims have been failed at every single turn. One hundred hours of community service is a joke—this isn’t traffic court. 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.”
Sasse said he believes the public deserves a “full report form the Bureau of Prisons’ failures” and that efforts to bring Epstein’s co-conspirators to justice “need to redouble.”
At the time of his death, Epstein had been facing federal sex-trafficking charges that accused him of luring dozens of underage girls to his homes for sex acts. The medical examiner ruled his death was a suicide, but speculation has continued to swirl about his final moments.
According to a national poll from Emerson College, just 33% of those surveyed believe he committed suicide, while 34% believe he was murdered and another 32% weren't sure.
Epstein’s death ended the federal prosecution against him; however, his one-time girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell remains behind bars facing her own sex-trafficking charges after prosecutors alleged that she helped procure underage girls for the wealthy financier.
Her trial is scheduled to begin in November, according to Reuters.
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