(PresidentialInsider.com)- Federal Judge Analisa Torres approved the plea deal between prosecutors and the two corrections officers on duty when Jeffrey Epstein hung himself that will allow them to avoid conviction and jail time.
Tova Noel and Michael Thomas admitted to falsifying records to cover up the fact that they failed to make their scheduled 30-minute rounds on the night of August 10, 2019. Rather than doing their scheduled checks on Epstein, they were instead napping at their desks and surfing the internet.
Under the plea agreement with prosecutors, both Noel and Thomas must undergo supervised release and do one hundred hours of community service. Their continued cooperation with the DOJ inspector general investigating Epstein’s death is also part of the agreement.
Epstein, the scandal-plagued billionaire financier with close ties to Bill Clinton, was arrested on July 6, 2019 on sex-trafficking charges involving allegations dating back to the early 2000s.
Arguing that his vast wealth and resources made him a flight risk, prosecutors requested he be held without bail. The arraigning judge ordered him remanded to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan pending trial.
Shortly thereafter, on July 23, Epstein made a suicide attempt. He was found alive with a strip of bedsheet around his neck and was rushed to the hospital. After treatment, Epstein was transferred to the prison’s hospital wing for a week to recover, then placed back in his cell.
As a result of the suicide attempt Epstein spent a short time on suicide watch. But then it was lifted.
On August 9, the inmate sharing Epstein’s cell was transferred. And the very next day, Epstein was found in his cell unresponsive. He was rushed to a lower Manhattan hospital where he was later pronounced dead by suicide.
During the hearing, Judge Torres asked Thomas and Noel if they understood that with the plea arrangement they were admitting to “willfully and knowingly” submitting false documents about that night. They both replied “Yes, your honor.”
Torres, who was appointed to the US District Court of Southern New York in 2013 by Barack Obama, then told the defendants that this plea gives them a chance to avoid conviction, adding “I trust you will take full advantage of the opportunity.”