News World US Epstein guards to skirt jail time in deal

Epstein guards to skirt jail time in deal

Noel and Thomas sat at their desks about 4.5 metres from Epstein's cell the night he died. Photo: AP
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Two prison workers tasked with guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself in a New York jail have admitted they falsified records.

The pair will avoid spending time in prison after a deal was struck with federal prosecutors, authorities say.

The prison workers, 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.

They were charged with lying on prison records to make it seem as though they had made required checks on the financier before he was found in his cell on August 10.

New York City’s medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide.

As part of the deal with prosecutors, they will enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department and will serve no time behind bars, according to a letter from federal prosecutors that was filed in court papers on Friday (local time).

Noel and Thomas will instead be subjected to supervised release, will be required to complete 100 hours of community service and will be required to fully co-operate with a probe by the Justice Department’s inspector-general.

The two “admitted that they ‘wilfully and knowingly completed materially false count and round slips regarding required counts and rounds'” in the housing unit where Epstein was being held.

The deal will need to be approved by a judge, which could come as soon as next week.

Prosecutors allege Noel and Thomas sat at their desks just five metres from Epstein’s cell, shopped online for furniture and motorcycles, and walked around the unit’s common area instead of making required rounds every 30 minutes.

During one two-hour period, both appeared to have been asleep, according to the indictment filed against them.

Epstein, a wealthy financial adviser, died at age 66 after he was indicted on multiple charges related to the sexual abuse of dozens of underage girls over many years.

Epstein’s longtime friend Ghislaine Maxwell is in custody awaiting trial on charges that she lured underage girls so he could abuse them.

-AAP