Prosecutors drop charges against Epstein's guards accused of sleeping on job, falsifying records

The guards were accused of falling asleep on the job and surfing online despite having orders to check every half hour on accused sex offender.

Updated: December 30, 2021 - 11:19pm

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Federal prosecutors moved Thursday to drop criminal charges against two Bureau of Prisons guards who admitted to falsifying records the night convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died on their watch.

Manhattan guards Tova Noel and Michael Thomas avoided prison time in May 2021 through deferred prosecution agreements mandating that they cooperate with a federal investigation on Epstein's death and perform 100 hours of volunteer work each. Both complied with the agreements, and the prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to dismiss the charges, Reuters reported.

Epstein was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. He was found in August 2019 hanging in his Manhattan cell, and the New York City medical examiner officially declared his death a suicide.

Noel and Thomas were accused of falling asleep on the job and surfing online despite having orders to check every half hour on Epstein, who had recently been taken off of suicide watch. Both admitted to "willfully and knowingly" falsifying records of monitoring Epstein that evening.

The prosecution's move comes the day after Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted on five of the six sex trafficking-related charges brought against her. She is expected to appeal.

While Noel's lawyers could not be reached, Thomas's lawyer "his client was happy with the dismissal and looked forward to putting the matter behind him," Reuters reported.