UPDATE 11:40 a.m. ET
The New York Times is now reporting that the two correctional officers who had been tasked with monitoring Jeffrey Epstein when he hanged himself in his jail cell in August have been charged. According to an indictment obtained by the newspaper, federal Bureau of Prisons employees Tova Noel and Michael Thomas have been charged with making false records and conspiring to defraud the United States.
The indictment reportedly alleges that Noel and Thomas “sat at their desk, browsed the internet and moved around the common area” instead of making the required rounds, and later lied in jail records, claiming they checked in on prisoners when they did not.
Earlier reports had indicated that the guards had fallen asleep at the time that Epstein hanged himself, but the portions of the indictment quoted in the New York Times report do not make reference to the possibility the guards were sleeping. Still, unidentified officials with knowledge of the matter reportedly maintained that the guards fell asleep for hours during their shift.
“The defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center,” Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement obtained by the New York Times.
“Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction.”
UDPATE: 10:22 a.m. ET
The original New York Times report about the jail guard arrests has been updated to say that the correctional officers have not yet been taken into custody as of approximately 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, but that the arrests are imminent.
Update: 2 federal workers are expected to be charged Tuesday in connection with their alleged failure to check on Jeffrey Epstein, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who said that the workers have not yet been arrested. https://t.co/AbHnxc1CW4
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 19, 2019
The two guards who were supposed to be monitoring Jeffrey Epstein on the day he committed suicide in his cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center have been or will soon be arrested, according to a New York Times report.
The report cites an unidentified source “with knowledge of the matter” who said the correctional officers were expected to be taken into custody Tuesday morning and will face federal charges related to their alleged failure to monitor Epstein the night or early morning that he hanged himself in his jail cell.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the officers previously rejected a plea deal offered by federal prosecutors, indicating that the U.S. Justice Department was intending to file charges.
Epstein was pronounced dead on August 10, after he was found hanging in his cell that morning. The two correctional officers facing charges were tasked with monitoring Epstein, who was considered a high-security prisoner and had been found unresponsive in his cell weeks before his death, in circumstances that were never thoroughly explained. The guards allegedly fell asleep, and are additionally accused of falsifying records claiming they were monitoring the prisoner during the time they were asleep, according to the New York Times report.
Epstein was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges when he died. The New York City Chief Medical Examiner determined that Epstein died of suicide, though that conclusion has been widely challenged.
This is a developing story and all information is preliminary. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.