Correctional officers who supervised Jeffrey Epstein on night of suicide indicted
November 19, 2019 8:41 AM
(NEW YORK) -- The two correctional officers on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide were indicted on Tuesday.
The charges include falsifying government documents.
The two correctional officers, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas were charged with "making false records and conspiring to make false records and to defraud the United States by impairing the lawful functions of the Metropolitan Correctional Center ("MCC"), a Manhattan detention facility that houses federal inmates," a release from the Southern District of New York said.
“As alleged, the defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates, and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
Epstein, 66, who was being held at the jail without bail, was found unresponsive in his cell around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, the Bureau of Prisons said. He was later pronounced dead at a Manhattan hospital.
ABC News has previously reported that a review of the security cameras at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan showed that two guards who were supposed to check on Epstein every 30 minutes never made their appointed rounds in the hours when the sex offender died, sources familiar with the investigation confirmed to ABC News.
A source confirmed that the charges trump the internal Bureau of Prisons' "after-action" report, which has not been completed yet.
Bureau of Prisons Director Kathy Hawk Sawyer foreshadowed the charges in a memo obtained by ABC News earlier this month.
"As I have noted in previous messages, recent reviews of institution operations revealed that some staff members failed to conduct rounds and counts in housing units, yet documented they had done so," Hawk Sawyer wrote in the internal memo dated Nov. 4.
One prison union official described the memo as "hypocritical," and said that it will have a chilling effect on senior officers working in the Special Housing Unit.
"They have put inmates on equal par with the staff," that same union official said.
Hawk Sawyer issued a warning that falsifying rounds is a violation of policy and even could be subject to criminal charges.
The director is due to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday.
At least one federal prison has cracked down on correctional officers not making their appointed rounds.
A separate memo obtained by ABC News, dated Oct. 28, showed that recently an employee was disciplined at the federal correctional facility in Tallahassee for not making their appointed rounds. The employee was placed on phone duty.
The source who provided the memo said the reassignment and internal investigation was directly related to the two correctional officers not making their appointed rounds at MCC New York.
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