April Trial Date Set For Guards Charged In Epstein Death

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Michael Thomas, a federal jail guard responsible for monitoring Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself, leaves federal court Monday Nov. 25, 2019, in New York. He faces charges for falsifying prison records in the hours surrounding Epstein's death. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge set an April trial date Monday for two jail guards accused of failing to make required checks on Jeffrey Epstein the morning he died.

The trial of guards Tova Noel and Michael Thomas can begin April 20, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres said.

The guards after their arrest last week pleaded not guilty to lying on prison records to make it seem as though they had made required checks on the financier before he was found in his cell Aug. 10. New York City’s medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide.

Epstein was awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused teenage girls at his Manhattan mansion and a Florida home.

Federal authorities said in court papers that Noel and Thomas appeared to sleep for two hours, perused the internet and failed to make required checks of cells every 30 minutes during an eight-hour period when Epstein’s cell 15 feet from the guards went unchecked.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah Donaleski said evidence will include hundreds of hours of jailhouse video recordings.

Lawyers for the guards, who are suspended without pay, said their clients were being blamed for systemic problems that plagued the Metropolitan Correctional Center before Epstein’s death.

Attorney Jason Foy, representing Noel, said the lawyers likely will be seeking information beyond evidence that is turned over to them by prosecutors.

“I believe there are outside circumstances that are driving this prosecution,” he said.

Montel Figgins, a for representing Thomas, said outside court that the guards are scapegoats for many failings in a troubled federal lockup.

“Absolutely,” Figgins said when asked whether “scapegoat” was an appropriate word to use. “Only two people charged? For this to happen, a lot had to fail.”

He asked, for instance, who decided that Epstein’s cellmate should be removed from his cell the day before he died. Prison psychologists had determined that Epstein should not be alone in a cell after he was removed from suicide watch after he was found injured in his cell in July.

“The system had a lot of problems. Supervision, staffing,” Figgins said.

The next pretrial hearing was scheduled for Jan. 30.

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11 COMMENTS

      • Paulin it’s your Torah too! You don’t have to humor us .

        I am not pro sucide but if a creep does it and we can save $$ and head aches why not .

        And to prosecute someone for slouching on their jobs like these guards seems extreme to me

  1. Epstein had dirt on a lot of people, like the Clintons. I told people he’d never make it to trial,he was a dead man. Check the history of people who threatened the Clintons, it’s a long list of accidents, and suicides. These guy were paid off to look the other way or worse. I’m afraid they may not make it to trial, if certain people are to be named.

    • The current head of the Federal government had a lot to lose if his former friend were to rat him out. There are published photos with Individual 1 and Epstein with a girl who appears to be under 18 years of age,

    • Clinton is not in Power. Trump, Barr etc are in Control of all Federal Jails. HM??? Read Yoni to understand this. Clinton has nothing to loose here, he is not running for anything. Its not Rocket science who has the most to loose and all the resources. Those guards were employed and paid by the Federal Govt. (Not Clinton) They had to do what they were instructed or YOU ARE FIRED. Read today’s news. The Secretary of the Navy was fired for not following orders. What do you expect from the little guys?

        • Educated Archy, the guards like all who are charged with a crime deserve their day in court. It will be interesting to learn what orders they were actually given regarding the deceased who attempted suicide earlier.
          I’m surprised that someone who gives the benefit of the doubt to Trump on each and every accusation was so quick to condemn the deceased accused. Although the evidence seemed overwhelming as it does in the case of the man you so admire, each case deserves a court verdict.
          There is no excuse to applaud a suicide, Educated Archie.
          I am definitely not Yoni.

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