An indictment against 2 officers guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night of his suicide says they shopped online, read sports news, and napped instead of checking on him
Richard Drew/AP, New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP
- Two prison guards responsible for checking up on Jeffrey Epstein on the night of his suicide were accused of "browsing the internet" for "furniture sales," and checking sports news to the detriment of carrying out their duties, a grand jury indictment reveals.
- Tova Noel and Micheal Thomas were accused of not making any checks on Epstein for 8 hours and forging documents to say that they did.
- Both Noel and Thomas have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
- The office where they were said to be sleeping and browsing the internet was just 15 feet from Epstein's cell.
- Jeffrey Epstein was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York when he died by suicide in August.
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The two prison guards tasked with monitoring Jeffrey Epstein on the night he died by suicide were accused of shopping for furniture online, checking sports news, and sleeping at their desks to the detriment of carrying out their duties, a grand jury indictment released on Tuesday showed.
Tova Noel and Michael Thomas were on duty at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York on the night of Epstein's suicide, and are accused of failing to check up on him at regular intervals, and forging documents during their shift to say that they had.
"To conceal their failure to perform their duties, Noel and Thomas repeatedly signed false certifications attesting to having conducted multiple counts of inmates when, in truth and in fact, they never conducted such counts," the indictment reads.
Both Noel and Thomas have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
The indictment said Noel and Thomas failed to perform half-hourly checks on Epstein throughout the night, and instead slept and browsed the internet in their office - which was 15 feet away from Epstein's cell.
Epstein was being held in the facility while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.
Associated Press/Mary Altaffer, Reuters
"Noel used the computer periodically throughout the night, including to search the internet for furniture sales and benefit websites," the indictment reads.
Thomas also used the computer "briefly" to "search for sales and sports news," it said.
The indictment is in part based on surveillance footage from the security cameras in the cell block.
Both guards were working overtime due to staffing shortages. They were both placed on administrative leave while the FBI and Justice Department's inspector general investigated Epstein's death.
Thomas's lawyer, Montell Figgins told The Associated Press that the guards are being "scapegoated."
"We feel this is a rush to judgement by the U.S. attorney's office," he told the AP.
"They're going after the low man on the totem pole."
The indictment documents revealed new information about the circumstances surrounding Epstein's death, and said surveillance footage showed that nobody entered Epstein's cell on the night before his body was found- which appears to refute the conspiracy theory that he was murdered.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website to receive confidential support.
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