News: Prison Guards Charged Over Jeffrey Epstein Death Are Scapegoats, Say Defense Attorneys And Twitter
Prosecutors say that two prison guards napped and surfed the internet, then lied about checking every half hour on convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein the night he died in the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Defense attorneys for the prison guards, who have been criminally charged, say the state is trying to make a scapegoat out of their clients and blame them for systemic problems in the federal Bureau of Prisons that contributed to Epstein’s death.
The two guards, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, are charged with making false records and conspiracy to defraud the U.S., among others. Noel has been charged with five counts and Thomas with three. Each count carries a maximum five-year prison term. Both pleaded not guilty.
Both defendants have large group of supporters who gathered outside the courtroom last week as they were charged.
Suicide is the official cause of Epstein’s death in August while in custody, but the broken bones in his neck are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation than hanging, experts have said.
Prosecutors say the guards left Epstein, who had attempted suicide there previously, alone for eight hours in his cell.
The Manhattan jail where Epstein died has long been plagued by staff shortages, New York Times reported. The two guards had already done several sessions of overtime that week.
Many people believe that Epstein was killed to stop him from incriminating his powerful friends and associates, whom he entertained. Epstein’s lawyers have suggested he was murdered.
“I knew they were Black before I saw their face because they said two people were being charged. That usually means Black sadly enough,” one person tweeted.
Epstein’s name has been linked to famous people including President Donald Trump, Prince Andrew The Duke of York, New York Daily News former owner Mort Zuckerman, former President Bill Clinton, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, and actor-director Woody Allen.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
FBI agents investigating Epstein’s death are looking at the possibility that a “criminal enterprise” played a role, top U.S. prison administrator, Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, said early this month. The Justice Department is investigating why Epstein didn’t have a cellmate.
Montell Figgins, attorney for Thomas, said that Thomas was being made a scapegoat for the Bureau of Prisons and that there were systemic issues in the department.
He said that both defendants had been suspended without pay but had not been fired, Daily Mail reported.
Attorney General William P. Barr said he initially suspected that Epstein may have been murdered. How could someone who had been on suicide watch kill himself in one of the most secure jails in America? But Barr said the evidence shows he hanged himself, the result of “a perfect storm of screw-ups,” New York Times reported.
For many people accused of being conspiracy theorists, something does not add up. After a so-called suicide attempt three weeks earlier, Epstein was put on suicide watch and got daily psychiatric evaluations. This stopped for unknown reasons. Why did prison officials take Epstein off suicide watch 12 days before he hanged himself? Why are two prison guards with little or no authority to make decisions being set up to take the blame?
“Where are the supervisors?” Figgins asked. “Where are the people who make the policy decisions? Why didn’t Mr. Epstein have a cellmate at the time that this happened?”
A judge set an April trial date for Thomas and Noel.