Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, two of Jeffrey Epstein’s prison guards, admitted to falsifying records on the night Epstein committed suicide to hide the fact they were not doing their jobs.
They made a deal with prosecutors and admitted that they ‘willfully and knowingly completed materially false count and round slips regarding required counts and rounds’ in the unit where Epstein was being held.
They will not serve any jail time. “After a thorough investigation, and based on the facts of this case and the personal circumstances of the defendants, the Government has determined that the interests of justice will best be served by deferring prosecution in this District,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Lonergan said.
Sen. Ben Sasse ripped the deal: “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.”
The correctional officers will cooperate with a Justice Department Inspector General’s probe into the entire Epstein fiasco.
“I hope that this leads to a larger conversation about how the entire criminal justice system can be improved for all,” said Thomas’ lawyer, Montell Figgins.
From The AP:
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.
Both officers who were guarding Epstein were working overtime because of staffing shortages. One of the guards, who did not primarily work as a correctional officer, was working a fifth straight day of overtime. The other guard was working mandatory overtime, meaning a second eight-hour shift of the day.
Before they were arrested, both officers had declined a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Feds: Officers guarding Jeffrey Epstein when he killed himself admit falsifying records, cut deal that avoids jail time.— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 21, 2021
The men who were prison guards responsible for watching Jeffrey Epstein have admitted to falsifying records from the night of his death.— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) May 22, 2021
DOJ enters into non-prosecution agreement for the two prison guards whose neglect provided opportunity for Jeffrey Epstein to kill himself. https://t.co/M1kWIyv6vr— emptywheel (@emptywheel) May 21, 2021