Epstein jail guards plead not guilty

Wednesday, 20 Nov, 2019

Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center's Special Housing Unit at around 6:30 a.m. on August 10, just after Noel and Thomas received the morning breakfast cart and had entered Epstein's tier to distribute meals.

NY prosecutors charged Tova Noel, 31, and Michael Thomas, 41, on Tuesday with making false records to defraud the United States by impairing the lawful function of a federal prison. The indictment unsealed after their arrests on Tuesday alleged that Noel and Thomas falsified logs to "conceal their failures to perform their duties".

Before his death, Epstein had pleaded not guilty in a case in which authorities said he "enticed and recruited" young girls to visit his mansion in Manhattan and his estate in Palm Beach in order to sexually abuse them.

There were also hemorrhages in Epstein's eyes that were common in homicidal strangulation and uncommon, though not unheard of, in suicidal hangings, the forensic pathologist said.

Epstein had pleaded not guilty to child sex charges, including the alleged abuse of girls as young as 14, in NY and Florida in the early 2000s.

"The FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise", Hawk Sawyer said. He was on suicide watch and awaiting trial on charges of trafficking teenage girls for sex.

This comes as the director of Federal Bureau of Prisons was pressed on Capitol Hill about the agencies suicide watch program regarding Epstein.

"They repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates, and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction", said U.S. Attorney for Manhattan Geoffrey S. Berman.

A fund manager worth hundreds of millions of dollars, he had entered a controversial non-prosecution agreement with USA prosecutors in Florida more than a decade ago, admitting to two state prostitution charges and serving 13 months in a county jail.

The officers have been placed on administrative leave while the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department's inspector general investigate the circumstances surrounding Epstein's death.

The businessman had been charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.

Prison workers' union official Jose Rojas told The Times that while he does not condone falsifying the records, the two prison staff members are nothing more than patsies in Epstein's death.

The guards, who were the only ones assigned to Esptein's unit, were supposed to check in on him as part of routine rounds that were to be completed every 30 minutes.

The investigations already have found a troubling lack of follow-through by Bureau of Prisons personnel after a July23 incident in which Epstein may have tried to kill himself, according to people familiar with them.

Both Epstein's brother and the lawyers who represented him in his criminal case have expressed doubts about the medical examiner's conclusion.