Epstein guards ‘were online shopping for furniture and napping’ when he committed suicide

Two correctional officers who were responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein on the night he hanged himself were allegedly shopping online for furniture and napping instead of checking on the millionaire pedophile in his jail cell 15 feet away from them.  

Tova Noel, 31, and Michael Thomas, 41, pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying records and conspiracy in relation to Epstein’s death in a Manhattan court on Tuesday afternoon.

According to an indictment, Noel and Thomas were falling asleep and surfing the internet instead of performing mandatory checks on Epstein’s cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10, the night he killed himself. 

After they discovered the high-profile inmate dead, the officers allegedly told a supervisor they had ‘messed up’ and ‘didn’t do any checks’ in the hours before he killed himself. 

Noel and Thomas, who had both self-surrendered to the FBI earlier on Tuesday, were supported by about a dozen correctional officers in the courtroom. 

The two officers were each released on $100,000 bond and ordered to surrender their firearms and travel documents. In an orchestrated plan, their fellow officers formed a protective blockade to help shield them from photographers as they were released and left the court.    

Around a dozen corrections officers who turned up in support of their two colleagues formed a protective blockade around the accused and covered their heads while shepherding them into waiting cars. 

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Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas

Tova Noel

Tova Noel

Tova Noel, 31, (right) and Michael Thomas, 41, (left) appeared in a Manhattan court on Tuesday afternoon where they were arraigned on charges of falsifying records and conspiracy in relation to Epstein’s death

The two officers were each released on $100,000 bond and ordered to surrender their firearms and travel documents

The two officers were each released on $100,000 bond and ordered to surrender their firearms and travel documents

The two officers were each released on $100,000 bond and ordered to surrender their firearms and travel documents

In an orchestrated plan, fellow officers formed a protective blockade to help shield them from photographers as they were released and left the court

In an orchestrated plan, fellow officers formed a protective blockade to help shield them from photographers as they were released and left the court

In an orchestrated plan, fellow officers formed a protective blockade to help shield them from photographers as they were released and left the court

Thomas, who had both self-surrendered to the FBI earlier in the day, is seen trying to hide his face in the back of a van outside the court room

Thomas, who had both self-surrendered to the FBI earlier in the day, is seen trying to hide his face in the back of a van outside the court room

Thomas, who had both self-surrendered to the FBI earlier in the day, is seen trying to hide his face in the back of a van outside the court room 

Noel’s attorney, Jason E. Foy, told reporters ahead of the court appearance that his client ‘shouldn’t be here’.

Foy took issue with the judge’s orders that the officers had to surrender their firearms, arguing his client had no history of violence, the crimes she is accused of are non-violent and ‘the world is crazy’. 

They were ordered not to have any contact with each other ahead of their next court appearance on November 25. 

They appeared in court after it was revealed that the FBI is looking into the potential that there was ‘criminal enterprise’ involved in his death.

Noel and Thomas’s indictment also claimed:  

  • They sat at their desks, browsed online and moved about the common area for a substantial portion of their shift instead of completing the required checks.
  • Noel and Thomas allegedly appeared to be asleep at their desks for about two hours.
  • Noel used her computer to search for furniture sales and benefit websites during her shift.
  • Thomas allegedly searched online for motorcycle sales and sports news briefly at 1am, 4am and 6am. 
  • The pair were only 15ft away from Epstein when he died.
  • They found him dead when they went to serve him breakfast at 6.30am. The last time they checked on him was at 10.30pm the night before. 
  • Noel allegedly told a supervisor: ‘We did not complete the 3am and 5am rounds’. 
  • Thomas added: ‘We messed up’ and ‘I messed up, she’s not to blame, we didn’t do any rounds’. 
The two federal Bureau of Prisons employees, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were charged on Tuesday with falsifying records and conspiracy in relation to Jeffrey Epstein's death

The two federal Bureau of Prisons employees, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were charged on Tuesday with falsifying records and conspiracy in relation to Jeffrey Epstein's death

The two federal Bureau of Prisons employees, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were charged on Tuesday with falsifying records and conspiracy in relation to Jeffrey Epstein’s death 

Noel and Thomas, who were assigned to Epstein’s Special Housing Unit at the federal jail, are accused of failing to check on him every half-hour, as required, and of fabricating log entries to claim they had.  

The two guards are accused of repeatedly signing false certifications saying that they had conducted multiple counts of inmates during their shift. The prisoners were not checked on for eight hours, according to the indictment. The guards discovered Epstein’s body at 6.30am.   

Noel, who has worked at the jail since 2016, was working an overtime shift and had been on duty for roughly 14 hours in the unit by the time Epstein’s body was found. 

Her colleague, Thomas, had worked at the jail since 2007. He was also working an overtime shift the night Epstein died.  

The two guards were required to jointly conduct institutional counts at 4pm, 10pm, 12am, 3am and 5am of the prisoners in the unit.

Both officers are required to walk the six levels of the unit to count and observe every inmate.

They then have to each fill in and sign a form with the date and time the counts were performed.

Around a dozen corrections officers who turned up in support of their two colleagues formed a protective blockade around the accused and covered their heads while shepherding them into waiting cars

Around a dozen corrections officers who turned up in support of their two colleagues formed a protective blockade around the accused and covered their heads while shepherding them into waiting cars

Around a dozen corrections officers who turned up in support of their two colleagues formed a protective blockade around the accused and covered their heads while shepherding them into waiting cars

A scrum surrounds Noel and Thomas (not seen) as they leave the courtroom

A scrum surrounds Noel and Thomas (not seen) as they leave the courtroom

A scrum surrounds Noel and Thomas (not seen) as they leave the courtroom 

The guards are expected to be charged in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan later on Tuesday over their alleged failure to check on the millionaire pedophile in his cell the night he took his own life. His body is pictured above being brought out by medical examiners

The guards are expected to be charged in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan later on Tuesday over their alleged failure to check on the millionaire pedophile in his cell the night he took his own life. His body is pictured above being brought out by medical examiners

The guards are expected to be charged in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan later on Tuesday over their alleged failure to check on the millionaire pedophile in his cell the night he took his own life. His body is pictured above being brought out by medical examiners

The pending charges are the first in connection with Epstein's death after he took his own life in August at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (above) while awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls

The pending charges are the first in connection with Epstein's death after he took his own life in August at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (above) while awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls

The pending charges are the first in connection with Epstein’s death after he took his own life in August at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (above) while awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls

The slips are then collected and taken to the prison’s control center where officers double check them to make sure every inmate is accounted for.

In addition to the count, officers assigned to the unit Epstein was in are required to walk around every 30 minutes to ensure inmates are ‘alive and accounted for’, according to the indictment. They are also required to sign forms saying they carried out these 30-minute checks.

The procedures that should’ve been followed in Epstein’s jail unit:  

The two guards were required to jointly conduct institutional counts at 4pm, 10pm, 12am, 3am and 5am of the prisoners in the unit.

Both officers are required to walk the six levels of the unit to count and observe every inmate.

They then have to each fill in and sign a form with the date and time the counts were performed.

The slips are then collected and taken to the prison’s control center where officers double check them to make sure every inmate is accounted for. 

In addition to the count, officers assigned to the unit Epstein was in are required to walk around every 30 minutes to ensure inmates are ‘alive and accounted for’, according to the indictment. 

They are also required to sign forms saying they carried out these 30-minute checks. 

In total, the two guards were required to carry out five institutional counts. 

Prosecutors say surveillance video shows the officers did not conduct a single count despite them logging that they did.

They are also accused of falsely signing off that they had carried out more than 75 separate 30-minute checks.  

During their shift, Noel and Thomas were required to carry out five institutional counts. Prosecutors say surveillance video shows the pair did not conduct a single count despite them logging that they did.

Noel is accused of falsely signing off that they had carried out more than 75 separate 30-minute checks.

Surveillance video showed Epstein being taken to his cell by Noel at about 7.49pm after he met with his attorney, the indictment says.

Noel was filmed briefly walking up to the door leading to the tier where Epstein’s cell was at about 10pm.

‘This was the last time anyone, including any correctional officer, walked up to, let alone entered, the only entrance to the tier in which Epstein was housed until approximately 6.30am,’ the complaint says. 

Noel was charged with five counts of falsifying records about how Epstein was monitored, while Thomas was charged with three counts. Both also face a conspiracy charge. Each count carries a maximum five-year prison term.

The charges came as Bureau of Prisons’ director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer testified in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.  

‘The FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise,’ Sawyer said after being questioned as to how this could happen in such a high profile case. 

The charges are the first in connection with the 66-year-old’s death while awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls.

The two officers were placed on administrative leave while the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general investigated the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death. The warden of the Metropolitan Correctional Center was also reassigned. 

His autopsy report found his neck had been broken in several places, including the hyoid bone located near the Adam's apple. The city's medical examiner ruled Epstein's death a suicide but that didn't stop the conspiracy theories from swirling

His autopsy report found his neck had been broken in several places, including the hyoid bone located near the Adam's apple. The city's medical examiner ruled Epstein's death a suicide but that didn't stop the conspiracy theories from swirling

His autopsy report found his neck had been broken in several places, including the hyoid bone located near the Adam’s apple. The city’s medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide but that didn’t stop the conspiracy theories from swirling

Epstein's autopsy report found his neck had been broken in several places, including the hyoid bone located near the Adam's apple

Epstein's autopsy report found his neck had been broken in several places, including the hyoid bone located near the Adam's apple

Epstein’s autopsy report found his neck had been broken in several places, including the hyoid bone located near the Adam’s apple

Epstein had been on suicide watch after he was found July 23 on his cell floor with bruises on his neck. He was taken off suicide watch about a week before his death, which meant he was less closely monitored but still supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes.

The city’s medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide but that didn’t stop the conspiracy theories from swirling. 

Both Epstein’s brother and the lawyers who represented him in his criminal case have expressed doubts about the medical examiner’s conclusion. 

His autopsy report found his neck had been broken in several places, including the hyoid bone located near the Adam’s apple. 

Forensic experts said that breakages to that specific bone could occur when people hanged themselves but were more commonly seen in victims who had been strangled. 

A source close to Epstein told DailyMail.com that he appeared to be in good spirits in the days before his suicide.

His brother Mark recently said he could not think of a single reason why Epstein would have taken his own life. He called the financier’s death ‘suspicious’ and said he has seen no evidence to support the official ruling on his brother’s cause of death.   

A 31-year-old woman, who claims she was trafficked and sexually abused by Epstein when she was 15, spoke out publicly for the first time on Monday to announce that she is launching a lawsuit against against his estate

A 31-year-old woman, who claims she was trafficked and sexually abused by Epstein when she was 15, spoke out publicly for the first time on Monday to announce that she is launching a lawsuit against against his estate

A 31-year-old woman, who claims she was trafficked and sexually abused by Epstein when she was 15, spoke out publicly for the first time on Monday to announce that she is launching a lawsuit against against his estate 

During a press conference in Los Angeles, the woman - only identified as Jane Doe 15 - was spotted wearing a bracelet that read: 'Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself'

During a press conference in Los Angeles, the woman - only identified as Jane Doe 15 - was spotted wearing a bracelet that read: 'Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself'

During a press conference in Los Angeles, the woman – only identified as Jane Doe 15 – was spotted wearing a bracelet that read: ‘Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself’ 

Dr Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s family to observe the autopsy, has claimed the injuries were more consistent with homicide by strangulation than suicide.

He claimed he hadn’t seen the same fractures in a suicidal hanging case in 50 years.  

Dr Baden previously said authorities could help clear things up by being more transparent about their findings in Epstein’s death.  

Epstein’s death ended the possibility of a trial that would have involved prominent figures, and it sparked widespread anger that he wouldn’t have to answer for the allegations. 

He had pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.

Even with his death, federal prosecutors in New York have continued to investigate the allegations against Epstein. The Justice Department has vowed to aggressively investigate and bring charges against anyone who may have helped him.

There is also a related investigation in Paris, where accusers are complaining police haven’t done enough to track down potential witnesses.

A 31-year-old woman, who claims she was trafficked and sexually abused by Epstein when she was 15, spoke out publicly for the first time on Monday to announce that she is launching a lawsuit against against his estate.

During a press conference in Los Angeles, the woman – only identified as Jane Doe 15 – was spotted wearing a bracelet that read: ‘Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself’. 

  • If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.  
  •  For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local branch. See www.samaritans.org for details.
  • For confidential support in Australia LIFELINE: 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au  or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

‘Things that don’t hang themselves. Christmas ornaments, dry wall and Epstein’: Senator John Kennedy on the pedophile’s death 

Senator John Kennedy demanded that the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ‘tell the American people what happened’ surrounding the death of Jeffrey Epstein who killed himself while behind bars at one of the most secure jails in America. 

Christmas ornaments, drywall, and [Jeffrey] Epstein – name three things that don’t hang themselves. That’s what the American people think,’ Kennedy said, referring to the public’s skepticism that Epstein committed suicide. 

‘And they deserve some answers,’ the Louisiana Republican told Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, on Tuesday. 

For years, the federal Bureau of Prisons has been plagued by systematic failures, from massive staffing shortages to chronic violence. But the largest agency in the Justice Department has largely stayed out of the public view.

But the death of wealthy financier Epstein has cast a spotlight on the agency, which has also been besieged by serious misconduct in recent years. 

The issues at the Bureau of Prisons took center stage Tuesday as the agency’s new director, Hawk Sawyer, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Staffing shortages at the agency – it employs more than 35,000 people and has an annual budget that exceeds $7billion – are so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work mandatory double shifts. 

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