Federal prosecutors quietly dropped their case against Jeffrey Epstein’s jail guards in the middle of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial

Jeffrey Epstein in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2004.Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images

  • Prosecutors dropped a case against two jail guards accused of sleeping on the job as Epstein died.

  • They made the decision on December 13, in the middle of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial.

  • The decision to drop the indictment against the guards wasn’t made public until December 30.

In the middle of Ghislaine Maxwell’s child-sex-trafficking trial, federal prosecutors quietly dropped their case against two jail guards accused of sleeping on the job and falsifying jail records as Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in his cell.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan signed a nolle prosequi, a document announcing to the judge that they wished to drop the case, on December 13. The document didn’t appear on the court’s public docket until Thursday, one day after Maxwell was convicted on charges that she trafficked girls to Epstein for sex and participated in sexual abuse herself.

Prosecutors first filed charges against the guards, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, in November 2019. Prosecutors said the guards napped, caught up on the news, and shopped for motorcycles and furniture instead of doing their rounds at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Epstein was held at the federal jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking and sexual-abuse charges.

Epstein was found dead in his cell on the morning of August 10, 2019, and New York City’s head coroner ruled it a suicide. Epstein’s brother, Mark Epstein, hired his own coroner who said the financier’s broken neck bones were more consistent with a homicide.

Noel and Thomas pleaded not guilty to the charges against them for falsifying records. In May this year, they entered a deferred prosecution agreement where prosecutors agreed not to bring the guards’ case to trial until after they finished cooperating with an investigation into the circumstances of Epstein’s death with the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General. The OIG has yet to release a report in connection with the investigation.

A public status conference for the case against Noel and Thomas had been scheduled for December 16, but it was canceled on December 15 without explanation or scheduling of a future meeting.

The December 13 nolle prosequi said Noel and Thomas satisfactorily complied with the terms of the non-prosecution agreement and completed community service. It’s unclear why the document wasn’t made public until December 30.

While she was prosecuted in Manhattan, Maxwell has been kept in a federal jail in Brooklyn. The Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan was closed in September, after years of accusations that the building was in poor condition and had been poorly managed, and that its guards were overworked.

Representatives for the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which oversaw the Epstein, Maxwell, Noel, and Thomas cases, didn’t immediately respond on Thursday to Insider’s request for comment.

Law and Crime obtained statements from attorneys representing Noel and Thomas that celebrated the decision to scuttle the case against them.

“Securing a resolution that eliminates both imprisonment and a criminal conviction is the favorable outcome that Ms. Noel prayed for since her arrest,” said Jason Foy, Noel’s attorney.

Read the original article on Insider