WASHINGTON — The two Bureau of Prisons employees assigned to watch Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself in a New York jail facility have admitted to falsifying records. Nevertheless, they will avoid any time behind bars under a deal with federal prosecutors, authorities said Friday.
The prison employees, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were accused of sleeping and browsing the internet instead of monitoring Epstein the night he took his own life in August 2019, KTLA reported.
Epstein was a maximum security federal prisoner who had been on suicide watch at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. As a result, many skeptics have questioned how this kind of incident occurred.
Under a plea deal announced Friday, they will avoid jail time in connection with their misconduct. Instead, the disgraced pair will be required to complete 100 hours of community service and cooperate with a federal probe, according to the agreement, which needs approval from the judge, New York Post reported.
“After a thorough investigation, and based on the facts of this case and the personal circumstances of the defendants, the Government has determined that the interests of justice will best be served by deferring prosecution in this District,” US Attorney Audrey Strauss wrote to Federal Judge Analisa Torres, in a letter filed Friday.
Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has been a vocal critic of the Justice Department’s handling of Epstein’s case, called the deal “unacceptable.” He believes the public deserves to see a report detailing the prison agency’s failures as Noel and Thomas reportedly sat at their desks just 15 feet from Epstein’s cell, KTLA reported.
“One hundred hours of community service is a joke — this isn’t traffic court,” Sasse said in a statement. “The leader of an international child sex trafficking ring escaped justice, his co-conspirators had their secrets go to the grave with him, and these guards are going to be picking up trash on the side of the road.”