2 Epstein jail guards plead not guilty to falsifying records, allegedly shopped online and slept as he died

Kimberly Dole
November 19, 2019 - 5:00 pm

Rick Friedman/Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty Images

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The two jail guards charged with falsifying prison records the night Jeffrey Epstein killed himself pleaded not guilty Tuesday in a Manhattan courtroom.

Prosecutors charged correctional officers, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, who guarded Epstein the night he died with falsifying prison records.

Noel and Thomas were both be released on $100,000 bond.

The indictment alleges that Noel, 31, and Thomas, 41, failed to complete their rounds on the morning of Aug. 10, not checking on Epstein for eight hours. Instead, surveillance video shows the two sitting at their desks, apparently asleep. 

Video also shows that there was no one else in the area where Epstein was housed. 

Records also show them using a computer to search the internet, for "furniture sales and benefit website" in Noel's case and "motorcycle sales and sports news" in Thomas's case, according to the indictment.

The indictment says that, after Epstein was found dead, Noel and Thomas told a supervisor on shift that they had not done their morning rounds. 

“We feel this a rush to judgment by the U.S. attorney’s office,” Montell Figgins, Thomas's lawyer, told the AP. “They’re going after the low man on the totem pole here.”

Noel and Thomas are expected to appear in court on Tuesday afternoon. 

The New York Times initially incorrectly reported Tuesday morning that the guards had been arrested.

Federal prosecutors in New York have continued to investigate the allegations against Epstein after his death. 

These were the first charges made in connection to Epstein's death.

Epstein was placed on suicide watch after he was found on the floor of his cell with bruises on his neck on July 23.

At the time of his death, Epstein was said to have been taken off suicide watch about a week earlier, but was still supposed to be closely monitored and checked on every 30 minutes.

Due to staffing shortages, both guards were working overtime at the time Epstein was found.

They were placed on administrative leave while the Justice Department's inspector general and the FBI investigate the circumstances that surround Epstein's death.

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