US Prosecutors Drop Criminal Case Against Jeffrey Epstein’s Jail Guards

By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Reporter
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter covering world news with a focus on U.S. news. Based in Australia, she has a background in clinical optometry. Contact Mimi at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com
December 30, 2021 Updated: December 30, 2021

U.S. prosecutors have dropped their criminal case against two jail guards who were at the Manhattan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York on the night that disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein purportedly killed himself.

In a legal notice (pdf), prosecutors informed the judge they wish to abandon criminal proceedings against Manhattan jail guards Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, who were accused of slacking on the job when they were meant to check in on Epstein around the time he died.

Epstein, who has connections with many powerful and wealthy people, was found dead in his jail cell at the MCC on Aug. 10, 2019, while he was being held on charges that he operated a sex trafficking ring. New York City’s medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.

Michael Thomas and Tova Noel
Michael Thomas and Tova Noel appear on charges they falsely certified to having conducted inmate counts during Jeffrey Epstein’s final hours at the Federal Court in New York City, N.Y., on Nov. 25, 2019. (Jane Rosenberg/courtroom sketch/Reuters)

The two guards were indicted in November 2019 on charges of conspiracy and falsifying records. They later both admitted to having “willfully and knowingly” falsified records to make it seem they were checking in on Epstein every 30 minutes on the night of Aug. 9, 2019, and on early Aug. 10, 2019.

Prosecution against both Noel and Thomas had been deferred for six months. During the deferral period that ended Nov. 20, they complied with the terms of the agreement, which required each to perform 100 hours of community service and cooperate with a federal investigation arising from Epstein’s death.

Thomas’s lawyer, Montell Figgins, said his client was happy with the dismissal and looked forward to putting the matter behind him, while Noel’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment, reported Reuters.

ghislaine maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell is seen in New York City on Sept. 20, 2013. (Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Prosecutors signed the legal document to drop the case against Noel and Thomas on Dec. 13, in the middle of a trial against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime associate.

They filed the document on Dec. 30, a day after Maxwell was found guilty on five sex-trafficking charges, including that she had helped recruit and groom children for Epstein to sexually abuse for at least a decade. Maxwell is expected to appeal her conviction.

The case is U.S. v. Noel et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-cr-00830.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter covering world news with a focus on U.S. news. Based in Australia, she has a background in clinical optometry. Contact Mimi at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com