Epstein prison guards charged with falsifying records

November 19, 2019

Two of Jeffrey Epstein’s prison guards will face criminal charges for falsifying records and conspiracy, according to multiple media reports. The two guards were suspended back in August after Epstein, the inmate in their charge, was found dead in his jail cell. They were supposed to be checking on him regularly, but it was discovered that they neglected their duties and then fixed the log books.

“As alleged, the defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates, and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction.”

Epstein prison guards charged

The two guards at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Michael Thomas and Tova Noel, were supposed to be checking in on Epstein every half-hour, the Associated Press reported. Instead they “sat at their desk, browsed the internet, and moved around the common area of the SHU,” meaning the Special Housing Unit where Epstein was held, and later tried “to conceal their failure to perform their duties” by signing “false certifications attesting to having conducted multiple counts of inmates that they did not do,” Fox News reported.

Their neglect left Epstein and other inmates in the SHU unmonitored for a roughly eight-hour span between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., during which time Epstein apparently died. The two guards found Epstein dead in his cell the next morning.

They were arrested Tuesday and charged with making false records and conspiring to make false records and defraud the United States by impairing the lawful functions of the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The guards, whose indictments are the first in the Jeffrey Epstein case, declined a plea deal.

The death of the most high-profile prisoner in the country set off immediate alarm bells this summer. Many Americans found it hard to believe that an infamous and well-connected pedophile was able to commit suicide in jail, and the story just got stranger as details emerged, starting with the fact that he had been taken off suicide watch shortly before his death and that guards were working overtime and checking on him.

Epstein had been placed on suicide watch weeks before after he was found unconscious in his cell with laceration marks on his neck. But he was later taken off suicide watch and placed in the Special Housing Unit, where inmates are monitored every half hour, NPR reported.

FBI probing “criminal enterprise,” fed says

Much about Epstein’s death remains a mystery, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill grilled Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Tuesday on how Epstein was allowed to kill himself — or whether he was murdered. Sawyer admitted that the FBI was investigating whether a “criminal enterprise” killed Epstein, Fox News reported.

Attorney General Bill Barr said at the time of Epstein’s death that he was “appalled” and announced FBI and DOJ probes into how Epstein had been able to die, as well as investigations of his living co-conspirators. New York’s medical examiner has ruled Epstein’s death a suicide, but the strange circumstances of his demise have fueled continued speculation.

Epstein’s brother, Mark Epstein, is convinced that Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself. He hired a forensic pathologist, Michael Baden, who said that Epstein’s injuries were more consistent with homicide by strangulation than suicide. Ongoing incredulity from the public has inspired both dark humor about Epstein’s “suicide” and dead-serious speculation that he did not kill himself, but was instead the victim of a powerful cabal of elites with whom he mixed in life.

The mainstream media has shown remarkable incuriosity about the so-called “conspiracy theories” concerning Epstein’s death, and has been criticized for trying to bury a cover-up scandal of the Epstein story at ABC.

Epstein’s friend Prince Andrew of the British royal family has come under increasing scrutiny after a botched interview this weekend that many described as a disaster. The British royal expressed no regret for being friends with Epstein and contested details of sex accuser Virginia Giuffre’s story by making strange claims, such as by alleging that he has a medical condition that prevents him from sweating.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.