A judge on Monday ordered charges dropped against two Bureau of Prisons guards who admitted to tampering with records after Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in prison more than two years ago.
The guards – Tova Noel and Michael Thomas – had agreed to postpone prosecution agreements last May that required them to admit guilt, with the understanding that the charges in a federal indictment would be dismissed if they followed their rules. agreement for six months. They were also required to complete 100 hours of community service.
Prosecutors last week called for the charges to be dropped and Judge Analisa Torres ordered a dismissal on Monday.
Epstein, 66, was awaiting trial for sex trafficking when he committed suicide in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in August 2019.
The death, a major embarrassment for the Bureau of Prisons, has sparked a scrutiny of federal prison operations adjacent to two major federal courthouses in lower Manhattan. It is currently closed.
In court documents, prosecutors said Noel and Thomas were at their desks just 4.5 meters from Epstein’s cell as they purchased furniture and motorcycles online and did not make the required rounds every day. 30 minutes. The indictment alleged that the two appeared to have fallen asleep for a period of two hours.
Their lawyers blamed their drowsiness on the understaffing that forced them to work excessive overtime.
In a statement, lawyer Jason Foy said his client Noel had provided the government with “a truthful glimpse into the toxic culture, poor training, staff shortages and dysfunctional management of the now closed Metropolitan Correctional Center. . In return for Ms. Noel’s cooperation, all charges against her were dropped.
He added: “The shortcomings and mistakes made by Ms. Noel were the result of her inexperience, lack of proper and sufficient training, and being put in a position of failure by MCC management and the Bureau. prisons.
Foy said Noel is now facing administrative proceedings with the Bureau of Prisons.
An attorney for Michael Thomas did not immediately comment.
Epstein’s death sparked widespread anger that he would not have to answer the allegations. Last week, his ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, was convicted in Manhattan federal court of sex trafficking and conspiracy after a month-long trial.
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