Epstein jail guards charged with falsifying records
NEW YORK (AP):
Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself were charged Tuesday with falsifying prison records.
Guards Toval Noel and Michael Thomas were accused in a grand jury indictment of neglecting their duties by failing to check on Epstein for nearly eight hours and of fabricating log entries to show they had been making checks every 30 minutes as required.
Prosecutors allege that instead of making their required rounds, the two guards sat at their desks, browsed the Internet, and walked around the unit’s common area. During one two-hour period, the indictment said, both appeared to have been asleep.
The charges against the officers are the first in connection with the wealthy financier’s death in August at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he had been awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
The city’s medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide. Prosecutors said surveillance cameras confirmed that no one else entered the area in which he was housed.
“As alleged, the defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction,” United States Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said.