/ January 2, 2022
Federal prosecutors dropped a case against two jail guards who were accused of sleeping on the job as Jeffrey Epstein was dying in his cell, a report said.
The decision became public one day after the jury reached a verdict in the Ghislaine Maxwell case.
As the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was underway, federal prosecutors on Dec. 13 quietly dropped their case against the two jail guards, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, Law and Crime reported
. Noel and Thomas were accused of sleeping on the job and falsifying jail records as Epstein allegedly killed himself in his cell.
Though the case against the guards was officially dropped on Dec. 13, the Department of Justice didn't announce the case was dropped until Dec. 30, one day after Maxwell was convicted on charges that she trafficked girls to Epstein for sex and participated in sexual abuse herself.
Prosecutors first filed charges against Noel and Thomas in November 2019, alleging the guards had napped, caught up on the news, and shopped for motorcycles and furniture instead of doing their rounds at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center. Epstein was held at the federal jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking and sexual-abuse charges.
Epstein was found dead in his cell on the morning of Aug. 10, 2019. New York City's head coroner ruled it a suicide. Epstein's brother, Mark Epstein, hired his own coroner who said Epstein's broken neck bones were more consistent with a homicide.
Noel and Thomas pleaded not guilty to the charges against them for falsifying records. In May, they entered a deferred prosecution agreement where prosecutors agreed not to bring the guards' case to trial until after they finished cooperating with an investigation into the circumstances of Epstein's death with the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General. The OIG has yet to release a report in connection with the investigation.
“Under the agreements, prosecution was deferred for a period of six months during the term of Noel’s and Thomas’s good behavior, completion of community service, and satisfactory compliance with the terms of the agreement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos wrote. “The United States Pretrial Services Office has informed the Government that Noel and Thomas have complied with the terms of the agreement during the period of deferral, which expired on November 20, 2021.”
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