Two guards have been charged with filing false records on the night of Jeffrey Epstein’s death.
This Tuesday, a federal grand jury charged two Bureau of Prisons guards with conspiracy and filing false records in connection with their actions the night the American financier and convicted sex offender died.
The two guards have been identified as Tova Noel, 31, and Michael Thomas, 41; the two men were taken into custody on Tuesday morning. Both men pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court and were released on bail packages that included $100,000 bonds for each. This all stems three months after Epstein was found dead at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal detention facility in the lower part of Manhattan.
Epstein was accused of operating a sex trafficking ring from 2002 to 2005 at his Manhattan mansion and Palm Beach estate. He allegedly paid girls as young as 14 for sex crimes; he pleaded not guilty.
Epstein was awaiting his trial on the federal charges when he died. CNN reports New York City’s chief medical examiner ruled his August 10 death a suicide by hanging, though a former medical examiner hired by Epstein’s legal team has disagreed with that conclusion.
On the night of Epstein’s death, the guards failed to complete the required counts of prisoners on their watch in the specialized housing unit where Epstein was being held, according to the indictment. What the guards were actually doing was sitting at their desk browsing the internet. The counts were supposed to happen every 30 minutes. However, the indictment says Noel and Thomas “sat at their desk without moving and appeared to have been asleep.” To cover their tracks that they had allegedly forgotten to complete their checks, the two signed false certifications, saying they performed their assigned tasks. The night Epstein died, no officer completed any count or round in the unit between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., at which time Noel and Thomas discovered Epstein’s body, the indictment says.