The two prison guards who admitted to falsifying records on the night Jeffrey Epstein purportedly killed himself have seen their charges dismissed by a federal judge.
On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres in New York ordered all charges dropped against Bureau of Prisons guards Michael Thomas and Tova Noel after prosecutors said in a filing that the pair completed deferred prosecution agreements signed in May, reports CNN.
According to the federal filing, Thomas and Noel agreed to give authorities “truthful information related to their employment by the Bureau of Prisons, including about the events and circumstances described in the Indictment.”
Under the May agreement, the guards completed 100 hours of community service while cooperating in full with a review by the Department of Justice Inspector General.
Epstein, 66, died of apparent suicide while jailed at a federal prison in New York City on August 10, 2019, as he faced a potential prison sentence of up to 45 years on charges of pedophilia and sex trafficking from 2002 to 2005, with some of his sexual abuse victims being as young as 14.
Thomas and Noel were on duty as guards that night. Their initial indictment in the case noted that the pair neglected to complete a required prisoner count during their shift in the specialized unit where Epstein was imprisoned.
The guards’ lawyers claim that their inaction wasn’t a result of any intention to commit crimes.
“The shortcomings and mistakes made by Ms. Noel were a result of inexperience, lack of proper and sufficient training, and being put in a position to fail by the leadership of MCC and the Bureau of Prisons,” said Noel’s attorney Jason Foy.
In November 2019, the two guards pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and filing false records.
The Epstein case has come back into the public eye following the prosecution of his former partner and “partner-in-crime” Ghislaine Maxwell on a range of sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell, 60, was found guilty of five of six charges for grooming four teenage girls for Epstein between 1994 and 2004 and acting as what prosecutors called a “sophisticated predator” who preyed on the young and vulnerable for the benefit of the rich and famous figures she and the late financier associated with.
Maxwell faces upwards of 60 years in prison for her crimes, and may also face added years for two of perjury counts that will be tried separately. However, it is believed that she may cooperate with authorities on other cases to ensure a reduction in her sentence.
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