A federal judge on Tuesday approved a plea deal that will allow two jail guards to avoid time behind bars after they admitted to falsifying records about the night they were supposed to be supervising the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan approved the deal that Tova Noel and Michael Thomas reached with prosecutors last week. Instead of serving time, the two will serve six months of supervised release and complete 100 hours of community service.
Noel and Thomas were accused of sleeping and surfing the internet when they were supposed to be watching Epstein on Aug. 10, 2019, the night the disgraced financier was found hanging in his cell. They were subsequently charged with falsifying records over attempts they had made to persuade prosecutors that they had checked on the prisoner.
The two confessed to falsifying the records as part of their plea deal.
Epstein was being housed in a cell in the Special Housing Unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan as he awaited trial on charges of sexual abuse and sex trafficking in Florida and New York. He had pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Epstein’s death, which was ruled a suicide, marked a major blemish for the federal Bureau of Prisons, given the high-profile nature of Epstein’s detention and the unit in which he was housed.
His death sparked an avalanche of conspiracy theories given Epstein’s far-reaching connections to high-profile figures and lawmakers from both parties.