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Jail employees arrested after Jeffrey Epstein's death: report
Two workers who were on duty in a New York City jail the night of Jeffrey Epstein's death have been charged with making false records in relation to their alleged failure to check on him.
Correctional officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas were charged with four counts of making false records as well as a conspiracy charge, according to an indictment that was released Tuesday by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The indictment claims that Noel and Thomas "did not perform any of the required 30-minute rounds during their shift" but said that they signed count slips indicating that the institutional counts had been made.
It accuses them of sitting at their desks without moving, appearing to be asleep, for a two hour period.
"The defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates, and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
Lawyer Montell Figgins, who represents Thomas, told The Associated Press that the guards were being "scapegoated."
"We feel this a rush to judgment by the U.S. attorney's office," he said. "They're going after the low man on the totem pole here."
The Associated Press had previously reported that two correctional officers guarding Epstein were expected to face charges this week.
A spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons declined to comment.
Epstein died in August at the Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan while he awaited a trial for sex trafficking charges. The incident was ruled a suicide.
He had previously been convicted of a sexual misconduct charge in 2008, and his lenient plea agreement drew renewed scrutiny after a Miami Herald report last year.
The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment.
Updated at 12:53 p.m.