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The guards who were on duty on the night that disgraced financier and sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein killed himself have struck a plea deal.
The two guards, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were offered a deferred prosecution deal that allows them to avoid serving any prison time for falsifying records to hide the fact that they were shopping and sleeping when they were supposed to be guarding the inmate, The Washington Post reported.
Tova Noel and Michael Thomas were indicted in 2019 after prosecutors said they took naps and browsed the Internet — including over an eight hour stretch where Epstein was not monitored — instead of making rounds at the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit. The guards discovered Epstein dead around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2019.
To try to conceal that they did not fulfill the mandatory inmate welfare and security checks, they made false statements on official paperwork indicating that their duties had been performed, prosecutors alleged.
While the full scope of their agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan will not be public until it is reviewed by a judge as early as next week, prosecutors disclosed Friday that Noel and Thomas agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s review of the ordeal and that they would complete 100 hours of community service.
Noel and Thomas have admitted to lying on Bureau of Prisons documents about their failure to conduct counts and make rounds, per their assignments, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Lonergan and Nicolas Roos wrote in a court filing Friday.
“After a thorough investigation, and based on the facts of this case and the personal circumstances of the defendants, the Government has determined that the interests of justice will best be served by deferring prosecution in this District,” US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a letter to Federal Judge Analisa Torres on Friday.
Epstein’s name has made news recently after it was reported that Bill Gates’ relationship with the financier was a cause of concern for Melinda Gates prior to the couple announcing their impending divorce.
Melinda had deep concerns over her husband’s relationship with disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Fox News reported.
People familiar with the couple’s divorce proceedings and a former employee of their charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, told The Wall Street Journal that Melinda’s concerns about Epstein went back as far as 2013.
Those sources said Melinda told her husband she was uncomfortable with Epstein after the couple met him that year, but Bill reportedly continued a relationship with Epstein, despite her concerns.
“Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,” she said in 2019.
“Gates recognizes that entertaining Epstein’s ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates’s personal values and the values of his foundation,” she said.
“Over time, Gates and his team realized Epstein’s capabilities and ideas were not legitimate and all contact with Epstein was discontinued,” she said.
But Gates had emailed colleagues saying of Epstein, “His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me.”
Arnold said Gates “was referring only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence — and Epstein’s habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates.”
“It was in no way meant to convey a sense of interest or approval,” she said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Gates’ divorce had been in the works since 2019.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” Bill and Melinda Gates said.
“Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives. We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”