NBC NEWS -Two guards at a prison in Manhattan have been indicted in connection to the investigation into accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, a senior law enforcement official said.
Michael Thomas and Tova Noel have been indicted by a grand jury with six counts tied to falsifying prison records.
The allegations are that Thomas and Noel sat at their desk, browsed the internet, and moved around a common area of the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan but never conducted any rounds on the night before Epstein was found dead by suicide on Aug. 10.
The indictment says that from approximately 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 until approximately 6:30 the next morning, when Epstein was found dead, the two never checked on him or any other inmate in the jail’s special housing unit.
The two are charged with falsely signing internal documents saying they did the checks and counts at 12 a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m., and that they did rounds at 30-minute intervals.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said the two “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.”
The Associated Press reported Friday that federal prosecutors had offered a plea deal to two officers responsible for guarding Epstein the night of his death, but the officers declined the offer.
Epstein was arrested July 6 at an airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, as he returned from Paris on a private jet. He was charged with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking and faced up to 45 years in prison if found guilty.
He pleaded not guilty and was denied bail.
The indictment in his case alleged that he sought minors, some as young as 14, from at least 2002 through 2005 and paid them hundreds of dollars in cash for sex at either his Manhattan townhouse or his estate in Palm Beach, Florida.