U.S.

Epstein prison officers to avoid jail time in deal with feds

Two federal prison officers charged with neglecting their duties when accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell are expected to avoid prison time as part of deal struck Friday with federal prosecutors.

Officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, who were assigned to Epstein’s special housing unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center during the August 2019 overnight shift, admitted that they “willfully and knowingly” falsified documents showing that they had conducted required cell patrols, according to court documents.

At the time they should have been tending to their duties, prosecutors had asserted that the officers appeared to be sleeping, lingering in an office common area or browsing the Internet.

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FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein. Dr. Michael Baden, a pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein's brother, says he believes the financier's death at a New York City jail was a murder, not suicide. Baden told Fox News on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, that some injuries found on the 66-year-old Epstein's body "are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings" and more consistent with "homicidal strangulation." (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)

 As part of the deferred prosecution agreement, which is pending a federal judge’s approval, the two officers will serve six months of supervised release, cooperate with a continuing investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general and perform 100 hours of community service.

“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,” prosecutors said in a Friday letter filed with the court.

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