Jeffrey Epstein’s death: Will his prison guards end up in jail?
When Jeffrey Epstein, convicted sex offender & disgraced multimillionaire, was found dead in his cell in August 2019, the Bureau of Prisons asked itself how. Jeffrey Epstein was released from suicide watch in July, according to initial reports. Cameras pointed in his cell all day & night and guards were supposed to check on him every couple of hours.
Only they didn’t. According to security footage, Metropolitan Detention Center guards on duty that night never checked his cell, although they logged that they did. Now, corrections guards Tova Noel and Michael Thomas are facing charges of falsifying records.
Both guards are out on bail, but their trial has been delayed until July 2021. This is due to a couple of factors. First, there’s a backlog of court cases in the NY court system thanks to COVID-19. Second, the court date was pushed back so U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres could give prosecutors & defense more time to negotiate a “possible disposition.”
What’s a disposition?
In criminal procedure, a disposition is the final outcome of a criminal charge. In this case, a disposition would give the prosecution time to negotiate a plea deal of “guilty” with Jeffrey Epstein’s guards. That way, the court wouldn’t have to go through an entire trial, just sentencing.
Both Noel & Thomas pleaded not guilty. “The government has represented that they will not be dismissing the case and Ms. Noel has no plans to enter a guilty plea,” her lawyer, Jason Foy said in an email after the hearing for a new court date.
The prosecution’s evidence
While the defendants continue to plead not guilty, the prosecution has evidence that Jeffrey Epstein’s guards were negligent on the night of Epstein’s death. Although they were supposed to check in on Epstein, security footage shows Noel & Thomas sleeping for at least two hours.
Browser history in the prison also showed Noel surfing the internet for furniture and Thomas looking at motorcycles online.
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell on August 10, 2019. He apparently hung himself using his bedding. However, given the mysterious circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death made it look suspicious.
Although Epstein was put on suicide watch due to an earlier attempt he made, the lack of security footage and the guards not checking up on him made it look like an inside job. Epstein’s brother, Mark, even ordered a second autopsy due to the debacle. That autopsy showed that Epstein may have been murdered.
Jeffrey Epstein was awaiting trial for sex trafficking young girls. He would farm out his victims to rich & powerful men. Possible suspects included current & former U.S. presidents, members of the royal family, academics at prestigious schools, and other elites. It was speculated that he would turn on his former clients to secure a plea deal.
The debacle of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons
Jeffrey Epstein’s death led to a shakeup in the Bureau of Prisons. From the bungling of video footage to the guards’ apparent negligence, heads had to roll. The director of the Bureau of Prisons was replaced. An investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s death was launched.
According to an ABC7 report, the prison where Jeffrey Epstein was housed was understaffed and employees had low morale. They also reported that Epstein’s guards were on overtime, one was on his fifth shift in a row. The same report also said guards relied on other inmates to help keep the peace due to understaffing.