Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself have been charged with falsifying prison records, per the AP. A grand jury indictment made public Tuesday accused guards Toval Noel and Michael Thomas of failing to perform checks on Epstein every half hour, as required, and of fabricating log entries to show they had. Epstein was found dead in his cell in August as he awaited trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls. The city’s medical examiner ruled Epstein's death a suicide, but that hasn’t stopped conspiracy theories. A forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s family to observe the autopsy has said authorities could help clear things up by being more transparent.
Both guards were working overtime because of staffing shortages when Epstein was found. The officers have been placed on administrative leave while the FBI and the Justice Department's inspector general investigate the circumstances surrounding Epstein's death. Epstein was placed on suicide watch after he was found July 23 on his cell floor with bruises on his neck. Multiple people familiar with operations at the jail have said Epstein was taken off suicide watch about a week before his death, meaning he was less closely monitored but still supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes. Investigators believe those checks weren't done for several hours before Epstein was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck. (A lawmaker appeared to send a coded message about Epstein's death with his tweets.)