The two prison guards who were in charge of watching over Jeffrey Epstein the night he died in his Manhattan jail cell have struck a deal with prosecutors that keeps them from serving time. Per the AP, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas were accused of sleeping and browsing the internet while Epstein was under their supervision at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. As part of the deal with prosecutors, they will enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department and will serve no time behind bars, according to a letter from federal prosecutors that was filed in court papers Friday. Noel and Thomas would instead be subjected to supervised release, would be required to complete 100 hours of community service and would be required to fully cooperate with an ongoing probe by the Justice Department’s inspector general, it says.
Per NPR, the two were supposed to check inmates every half hour, which they indicated on prison records they had done. However, authorities say footage from the night the financier and accused sexual predator killed himself showed the guards sleeping for over two hours of their shift. The guards have “admitted that they ‘willfully and knowingly completed materially false count and round slips regarding required counts and rounds’” in the housing unit where Epstein was being held. Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has been a vocal critic of the Justice Department’s handling of Epstein’s case, has since called the deal unacceptable. “One hundred hours of community service is a joke — this isn’t traffic court." (Read more Jeffrey Epstein stories.)