Jeffrey Epstein's guards 'were online shopping for furniture and napping' rather than checking on him when pedophile committed suicide
The two officers appeared in a Manhattan court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying records and conspiracy.
The correctional officers responsible for guarding millionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein on the night he committed suicide were allegedly shopping online for furniture and napping instead of checking on the financier who was in his cell just 15 feet away from the guards.
The two officers, identified as 31-year-old Tova Noel and 41-year-old Michael Thomas, appeared in a Manhattan court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying records and conspiracy associated with Epstein's death. The guards, who were assigned to Epstein's Special Housing Unit at the Manhattan Correctional Center have been accused of failing to conduct the required half-hour checks on him, and fabricating log entries to claim that they had made the checks.
According to the indictment, the prisoners in the unit were not checked on for nearly eight hours.
Epstein allegedly hanged himself at correctional center early morning on August 10, despite being intermittently put on suicide watch. The investor was arrested by federal agents on July 6 in New Jersey after his return from a Paris trip and was charged with child sex trafficking in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591.
Noel and Thomas, according to the indictment, were surfing the internet and fell asleep instead of conducting mandatory checks on Epstein's cell. The sex offender died just days after attempting suicide in the same correctional facility. Reports state that after the correctional officers found Epstein dead, they allegedly told a supervisor that they had "messed up" and "didn't do any checks" in the hours before he killed himself, according to the Daily Mail.
The two prison guards, who surrendered to the FBI earlier on Tuesday, were backed by nearly a dozen correction officers in the Manhattan courtroom.
The pair's indictment also claimed that the officers sat at their desks, browsed online and moved about the common area for a substantial portion of their shift instead of completing the required checks on the inmates. They allegedly also appeared to be asleep at their desks for nearly two hours. While Noel used her computer to search for furniture sales during her shift, Thomas allegedly searched online for motorcycle sales and sports news at 1am, 4am and 6am.
The found Epstein dead when they went to serve him breakfast at 6:30 am, the last time they checked on him was the night before at 10:30 pm.
"We did not complete the 3 am and 5 am rounds," Noel allegedly told a supervisor, while Thomas said: "We messed up" and "I messed up, she's not to blame, we didn't do any rounds."
Noel and Thomas were each released on $100,000 bond and were ordered to surrender their travel documents and firearms. The duo's next court appearance has been scheduled for November 25 and they have been ordered to not have any contact with each other ahead of the next hearing.