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Two jail guards for Jeffrey Epstein charged with cover-up in his suicide

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Two jail guards for Jeffrey Epstein charged with cover-up in his suicide

By Brendan Pierson

 

2019-11-19T221751Z_1_LYNXMPEFAI29S_RTROPTP_4_PEOPLE-JEFFREY-EPSTEIN-GUARDS.JPG

Courtroom sketch shows Lawyer Jason Foy speaking next to Tova Noel, lawyer Montell Figgins and Michael Thomas as Thomas and Noel appear on charges they falsely certified to having conducted inmate counts during Jeffrey Epstein's final hours at the Federal Court in New York City, New York, U.S., November 19, 2019. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two jail officers falsified records to cover up their failure to check in on accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in the hours before the financier killed himself, U.S. prosecutors said on Tuesday.

 

According to an indictment, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas fell asleep and surfed the internet instead of monitoring Epstein, who was found unresponsive on Aug. 10 in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan. An autopsy concluded that Epstein hanged himself.

 

Epstein's suicide, at age 66, came a little over a month after the well-connected money manager was arrested and charged with trafficking dozens of underage girls as young as 14 from at least 2002 to 2005. He had pleaded not guilty.

 

In an afternoon hearing, Noel and Thomas pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn to charges they falsely certified to having conducted inmate counts during Epstein's final hours, and to a conspiracy charge. They are each expected to be released on bail.

 

"It is our hope that we will be able to reach a reasonable agreement in this case," Noel's lawyer, Jason Foy, told reporters outside the courthouse, but added that his client was prepared to defend against the charges.

 

Thomas's lawyer, Montell Figgins, said his client was disappointed that prosecutors had decided to charge him criminally.

 

"We look forward to our day in court and we hope there will be a positive resolution," he said.

 

The defendants were the first to be criminally charged in connection with Epstein's death, which embarrassed federal officials because the case had an unusually high profile.

 

Attorney General William Barr said in August he had been "appalled" to learn of Epstein's death.

 

Prosecutors are also examining the activities of people who Epstein's accusers say helped him engage in sex trafficking.

 

MONITORING SALES, NOT EPSTEIN

No one checked on Epstein in the eight hours before he was found unresponsive in his cell, according to the indictment.

 

Prosecutors said Noel and Thomas, the only correctional officers on duty in Epstein's unit, appeared to have fallen asleep for two hours during their shift.

 

Noel spent some of her waking hours surfing the internet for furniture sales and benefit websites, they said, while Thomas looked up websites for motorcycle sales and sports news.

 

Noel had been a correctional officer in the Manhattan jail since 2016, and Thomas since 2007, prosecutors said.

 

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which runs the jail, the last inmate suicide there occurred in 2006.

 

Epstein had been taken off suicide watch shortly before his death.

 

"Any allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously by the agency and will be responded to appropriately," prison bureau director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer said in a statement. "I am committed to this agency and am confident we will restore the public's trust in us."

 

Noel, 31, was charged with five counts of falsifying records, while Thomas, 41, was charged with three counts.

 

U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday unveiled criminal charges accusing two correctional officers of falsifying records on the night financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in a New York jail cell. Lisa Bernhard has more.

 

Those charges and the related conspiracy charges each carries a maximum five-year prison term.

 

"The defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.

 

"Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates, and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction."

 

NOTHING 'OTHER THAN A SUICIDE'

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

 

There was no indication that Epstein's death was "anything other than a suicide," Hawk Sawyer said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the prison bureau.

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General have also been investigating the circumstances of Epstein's death.

 

Epstein's estate, worth an estimated $577 million, is now the target of civil lawsuits by more than a dozen of his accusers. Executors for the estate have proposed creating a victim compensation fund to resolve the claims.

 

Epstein's friends once included U.S. President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew.

 

One of Epstein's accusers has said in a lawsuit that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew. The prince has denied that claim.

 

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Bernadette Baum and Lisa Shumaker)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-11-20

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17 minutes ago, webfact said:

According to an indictment, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas fell asleep

Conspiratory theorists ,will say they were only doing their job,

and someone slipped in the cell,to silence Epstein,who knew too

much about some very powerful people.

regards Worgeordie

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His surname is the same as The Beatles manager who was Brian EpSTEIN as in STEIN, the pot from which to drink BIER. Why does the BBC and other news channels call him EpSTIEN?

Edited by wgdanson

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Those standard "means, motive, opportunity" regarding crimes might be useful to consider.

Rich and powerful have the "means" ya think?

So many probably wanted him silent, going through list would be like Murder on the Orient Express... might be easier to find who didn't want him dead. So plenty of "motive".

Troubling how all the elements fell into place for "Opportunity": sleeping guards, cell mate moved, non functioning CCTV.

I wonder if moved cell mate could add any info: why was he moved, what was Epstein's mood, etc etc

Not saying he was murdered, but.....

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Smells like a cover up of the cover up. I think this is 100% murder and some very big bags of money handed out, career's ended for facilitating the crime. If I were one of the guards and I was told to turn a blind eye and not just put to sleep I would be kacking myself right now as life prospects will not be good. 

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Famed pathologist Michael Baden says Jeffrey Epstein’s death was homicide

https://nypost.com/2019/10/30/famed-pathologist-michael-baden-says-jeffrey-epsteins-death-was-homicide/

 

baden is world renowned international expert

 

 

Forensic Pathologist: Person Who Performed Epstein Autopsy in My Presence Didn’t Sign Off on Suicide Finding

https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/forensic-pathologist-person-who-performed-epstein-autopsy-in-my-presence-didnt-sign-off-on-suicide-finding/

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2 hours ago, J Town said:

I'm gonna step out on a limb here and say up front:

 

The security guards didn't kill themselves.

I agree, they didn't kill themselves, they just looked away while someone else did the killing.  Or should I read that as the guards didn't kill themselves yet but suicide may be in their futures ?   Whoever did it is probably dead themselves by now.

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2 minutes ago, IAMHERE said:

I agree, they didn't kill themselves, they just looked away while someone else did the killing.  Or should I read that as the guards didn't kill themselves yet but suicide may be in their futures ?   Whoever did it is probably dead themselves by now.

Yeah, wry humor, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if these two met with some very suspicious "fatal accidents."

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Someone had to take the fall and do a light sentence.

check their net worth in a few years and see if they did better than OK while in prison.

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Crank cospiracy theory maybe, but the validity of a scientific hypothesis is tested by how many correct predictions you can make from it, and this untimely death was predicted by a lot of people.

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