[imagesource: Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post via AP]
It’s been a terrible, no good week for Prince Andrew, and you can say the same for the two Bureau of Prisons guards who were supposed to be watching over Jeffrey Epstein the night that he died.
Tova Noel, 31, and Michael Thomas, 41, were arrested yesterday and charged with conspiracy and filing false records.
They both pleaded not guilty, and were released on bail.
Whilst there is an ongoing debate about the pathologist report, it’s the actions of the two men on the night that has now come under scrutiny.
The night of Epstein’s death, the guards repeatedly failed to complete the required counts of prisoners on their watch in the specialized housing unit where he was being held, according to the indictment, instead sitting at their desks, browsing the internet for furniture sales and sports news, and moving around the common area. The counts were supposed to take place every 30 minutes.
But for a period of approximately two hours, the indictment says, Noel and Thomas “sat at their desk without moving, and appeared to have been asleep.”
To mask the fact that they had allegedly neglected to complete the checks, the two signed false certifications saying they had performed their duties, according to the indictment.
The night Epstein died, no officer completed any count or round in the unit between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., at which time Noel and Thomas discovered Epstein’s body, the indictment says.
Those who think that Epstein died by more nefarious means will point to these glaring errors on the part of the guards as proof of a plot to murder the international sex trafficker.
It was only when Noel and Thomas received a delivery of breakfast carts for the inmates, which arrives just after 6AM, that they walked to the tier where Epstein was being housed.
Three minutes later [at 6:33AM], according to the indictment, an alarm was activated in the unit…
“Epstein hung himself,” Noel told a supervisor at the time, the indictment says.
The supervisor spoke to both Noel and Thomas, and Noel told the supervisor that they had failed to complete their 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. rounds.
“We messed up,” Thomas told the supervisor, according to the indictment, adding: “I messed up, she’s not to blame, we didn’t do any rounds.”
In defence of the two, the local head of the union representing federal prison workers said that the real issue was a chronic shortage of staff, and that a check on inmates every 30 minutes still allowed them 29 minutes to take their own lives.
Sure, but if you don’t even bother with the check every half-hour, especially with an inmate who had previously attempted suicide, expect the worst.
Which, if you ask the conspiratorial, may have been exactly what they wanted.
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