Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Two Jail Workers Arrested in Jeffrey Epstein Suicide

quote [ Two federal workers who were on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail were charged on Tuesday with failing to check on him every half-hour as they were supposed to and then lying about it on prison documents.

The two federal Bureau of Prisons employees, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were expected to appear in United States District Court in Manhattan to face charges including conspiracy and making false records. ]

Full article in extended to avoid the wall...

Reveal
Two federal workers who were on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail were charged on Tuesday with failing to check on him every half-hour as they were supposed to and then lying about it on prison documents.

The two federal Bureau of Prisons employees, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were expected to appear in United States District Court in Manhattan to face charges including conspiracy and making false records.

The charges are the first to arise from a criminal investigation into the death of Mr. Epstein, the disgraced financier who hanged himself at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

The indictment for the first time laid out a detailed, official account of what happened inside the jail the night that Mr. Epstein died inside a high-security protective housing unit. It said that video evidence showed no one entered the wing where Mr. Epstein was being held between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. when he was found.

Prosecutors accused Ms. Noel, 31, and Mr. Thomas, 41, of failing to make their required rounds to check on detainees. Instead, according to the indictment, the two “sat at their desk, browsed the internet and moved around the common area.”

They then signed “count sheets” saying they had checked on inmates several times overnight when they had not. The workers only discovered Mr. Epstein had hanged himself in his cell — 15 feet from their desk — when they went to give him breakfast at 6:30 a.m., the indictment said.

“The defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center,” Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement. “Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction.”

Mr. Epstein, 66, had been in custody for more than a month when he was found dead on Aug. 10. New York City’s chief medical examiner ruled the death a suicide. Lawyers for Mr. Epstein have challenged that finding, and a forensic pathologist hired by Mr. Epstein’s family has claimed that “evidence points to homicide.”

The indictment backed up the medical examiner’s finding and appeared to rebut a conspiracy theory suggesting Mr. Epstein did not kill himself. It said that only corrections officers on duty would have had access to the unit where Mr. Epstein was being held and that security camera video suggested only two other officers entered the unit during that time.

The indictment filed by prosecutors painted a picture of two workers with years of experience who failed to perform a basic and essential duty of their jobs: making sure inmates were alive and accounted for.

Ms. Noel and Mr. Thomas came under scrutiny shortly after Mr. Epstein’s death, because they were responsible for monitoring the high-security protective housing unit where Mr. Epstein, who had only recently been removed from a suicide watch, was being held.

Ms. Noel had been working as a corrections officer in the Manhattan jail since 2016. Mr. Thomas started there as a corrections officer in 2007, and though he was assigned to another position within the jail in 2013, he frequently worked overtime shifts as an officer, the indictment said.

The workers were supposed to check in on Mr. Epstein and other inmates every 30 minutes, according to the indictment. Instead, they spent several hours sitting at a desk near Mr. Epstein’s cell, surfing the internet and walking around a common area.

At times when they were supposed to be performing mandatory inmate counts, Ms. Noel and Mr. Thomas were online shopping; she looked at furniture sales and he browsed motorcycles and caught up on sports news.

For about two hours during their shift, both of them sat at the desk without moving, leading investigators to conclude they were likely asleep, according to the indictment.

At no point did the workers leave their desk to check on inmates, according to the indictment. But they falsified records to cover up what they had done, with Ms. Noel signing more than 75 entries suggesting she had conducted 30-minute checks.

The next morning, when Ms. Noel and Mr. Thomas entered Mr. Epstein’s cell, they found him unresponsive “with a noose around his neck,” according to the indictment. When a supervisor arrived, the guards admitted they had not properly performed their duties.

“We did not complete the 3 a.m. nor 5 a.m. rounds,” Ms. Noel said, according to the indictment.

“We messed up,” Mr. Thomas said, then later said, “I messed up, she’s not to blame, we didn’t do any rounds.”

The director of the Bureau of Prisons, Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, said in a statement that the agency was taking the allegations very seriously and would respond appropriately.

Mr. Thomas’s lawyer, Montell Figgins, said his client was being singled out for blame while higher level officials at the Bureau of Prisons were not being held accountable for what he called “fundamental lapses in the organization and management” of the agency.

“My client feels that there was a rush to judgment in this matter and that he’s being scapegoated,” Mr. Figgins said.

A lawyer for Ms. Noel, Jason E. Foy, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jose Rojas, an official in the prison workers’ union and a teacher at the Coleman prison complex in Sumter County, Fla., said that, although he did not condone falsifying records, the two prison staff members were being scapegoated for Mr. Epstein’s death.

Mr. Rojas said missing rounds and doctoring records were generally treated as a policy violation in the bureau, not as a criminal matter.

And, he said, there was blame to go around.

“There’s culpability at the top,” Mr. Rojas said. “They always try to blame the lowest person on the totem pole.”

Mr. Epstein had pleaded not guilty and was set to go on trial next year. If he had been convicted, he could have faced up to 45 years in prison.

Three weeks before his death, Mr. Epstein was found injured in his cell in what was then investigated as a possible suicide attempt. By the time of his death, Mr. Epstein had been taken off suicide watch but was supposed to have another inmate in his cell. The prison allowed him to be housed alone the day he died, Mr. Rojas said.

Additionally, the Manhattan jail had been short staffed for quite some time. On the night when Mr. Epstein died, both staff members were working overtime. Ms. Noel had been scheduled to work a 16-hour double shift. Mr. Thomas had volunteered to work, having already done several tours of overtime that week.

“These staff were placed in an assignment where the tools and resources needed to be successful were not available,” said Tyrone Covington, president of the local union that represents employees at the Manhattan Correctional Center. “Simply assigning blame will not correct the staff shortages that put this chain of events in place.”

He added, “It is clear to us that these indictments are a mask to cover up the true issues and merely be able to create a narrative that government has taken action.”
[SFW] [crime & punishment] [+2 Underrated]
[by knumbknutz@8:37pmGMT]

Comments

Dienes said @ 11:52pm GMT on 19th Nov [Score:2 Underrated]
I've worked in enough clinics, hospitals, and treatment centers to find staff blowing off a lifesaving job to surf the internet 100% believable.
spaceloaf said @ 12:38am GMT on 20th Nov
Yeah, my partner's first job was being a nurse in prison, and the staff are not what you would call the cream of the crop.

She got a monthly magazine and there was a whole section dedicated to reporting people who got their licenses revoked for stealing drugs, distributing contraband to prisoners, getting sexually involved with prisoners or other staff, etc. There were dozens every single month. Basically half the staff was probably involved in some sort of illegal activity at any one time.

Needless to say she got the hell out of there as soon as she could.
steele said @ 12:22am GMT on 20th Nov
rylex said @ 3:27am GMT on 20th Nov [Score:1 Classy Pr0n]
plot twist.

epstein didn't intend to kill himself. he paid the guards to go away for awhile so he could rub one out. he went out like david carradine
damnit said @ 8:19am GMT on 20th Nov
The multiple broken neck bones and the hyoid doesn't checks out.
snowfox said[1] @ 2:36pm GMT on 20th Nov [Score:1 Insightful]
I've been trying to research that, and while it's more common with a murder strangulation, enough to raise questions, it doesn't seem to be so much more common that it precludes suicide strangulation. I have been trying to find more information on which bones were broken and how broken. Fracturing the hyoid can be caused even by induced vomiting, so degree matters.

I've also been trying to find info on Epstein's weight to see if maybe we could calculate the force generated by a sheet and his own mass over a small vertical distance.

From my understanding, the standard of dropping people 5-9ft in a hanging execution was to be absolutely sure it would break the neck at the C2 vertebra by severing the transverse ligament. That doesn't mean it can't happen at a shorter distance, and people being much heavier now than when the distance was set would also matter. Dropping 1ft doesn't ensure you'd break your neck, but probably doesn't mean it's impossible.

Before discussing motives or possible alternate methods, it would be best to figure out if the injuries Epstein sustained are truly impossible via the proposed cause of death.
throatstabber said @ 10:33pm GMT on 20th Nov
I'd be interested to see how someone managed to fashion a noose out of a bed sheet.
snowfox said @ 2:03am GMT on 21st Nov
Same way you make a bed sheet rope to get out a window. If you twist the sheet, it makes a fine rope, and you don't need a lot of length if you're going for asphyxiation. It's not like you can achieve a drop greater than the height of the bed frame in a cell anyway.

There's a reason people on suicide watch don't get cloth sheets or clothes, or even shoe-laces. A determined person can hurt themselves or others with a lot of things.
rylex said @ 5:59pm GMT on 20th Nov [Score:-1 Flamebait]
filtered comment under your threshold
mechanical contrivance said @ 6:01pm GMT on 20th Nov
Let's kill all the bad people.
throatstabber said @ 10:32pm GMT on 20th Nov
Weird that you would give a person bed sheets after he tried to kill himself with bed sheets. Plus, it doesn't take 30 minutes to take a sheet off a bed and fashion it into a noose.
snowfox said @ 2:06am GMT on 21st Nov
He was on suicide watch for 24 hours. After that 24 hours there's supposed to be a cell mate and increased monitoring, but they don't take away your clothes and sheets for very long. They had not replaced his cell mate and failed to do the checks, but evidently the failed checks were common in that prison and the guards who were supposed to do it were working multiple shifts and the prison was understaffed.

I am not saying for sure he was not murdered, just that it isn't the only possibility. It is also entirely plausible someone facing the sort of consequences he was facing would kill himself. Do you know what prisoners do to pedophiles? There's a hierarchy in prison, and it is open season on people who hurt children, especially that way.
snowfox said @ 2:36pm GMT on 21st Nov
The #1 theory in the "Epstein was murdered" camp is that the Clintons did it... Does this sound plausible to anyone?
mechanical contrivance said @ 3:04pm GMT on 21st Nov [Score:1 Funny]
Yes, gullible people.

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