Indicted Correctional Officer Says She's Ready To Talk With Prosecutors
Manhattan, NY – One of the two correctional officers who has been charged for allegedly falsifying prison records on the night of Jeffrey Epstein’s death has said she is ready to tell federal prosecutors everything she knows.
Federal Bureau of Prisons Correctional Officer Tova Noel and her attorney, Jason Foy, have not discussed what type of information she has that may be of interest to prosecutors, the New York Post reported.
“Ms. Noel remains available to fully and truthfully cooperate with the Inspector General’s investigation, which is also geared toward uncovering the many problems that existed from the commencement of her employment [and] which continue to plague the Metropolitan Correctional Center,” Foy said in a press release on Wednesday.
Foy did not respond to requests for comment from the New York Post, and Correctional Officer Noel also refused to answer questions as she ran out of her apartment in the Bronx to a waiting vehicle on Wednesday evening.
The 31-year-old correctional officer has been charged with conspiracy and two counts of false records, according to CNBC.
According to her lawyer, Correctional Officer Noel is a “Gulf War Veteran” who served in the U.S. Army National Guard from 2008 until 2014.
Interestingly, the Gulf War ended in 1991, when Correctional Officer Noel was still a toddler.
She also served as an assistant U.S. Postal Service mail handler before she joined the Bureau of Prisons in 2018, Foy said.
“The Government’s decision to criminalize work performance…is disappointing,” Foy wrote. “The disappointment is heightened because Ms. Noel was prepared to cooperate and did not make any efforts to frustrate the Government’s investigation into the alleged suicide of Jeffrey Epstein.”
Federal Bureau of Prisons Correctional Officer Michael Thomas, 41, has also been indicted for conspiracy and two counts of false records.
According to the indictment, the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) correctional officers “sat at their desk, browsed the internet, and moved around the common area” instead of carrying out their mandated prisoner checks on the night Epstein died, The New York Times reported.
“For a period of approximately two hours, Noel and Thomas sat at their desk without moving, and appeared to have been asleep,” the indictment read, according to CNBC.
They then allegedly falsified prison documents, and claimed to have checked on inmates when they really hadn’t.
“The defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction.”
Both correctional officers allegedly confessed to having shirked their duties during a conversation with a supervisor following Epstein’s death, CNBC reported.
“Epstein hung himself,” Correctional Officer Noel told the supervisor, according to the indictment. “We did not complete the 3 a.m. [nor] 5 a.m. rounds.”
“We messed up,” Correctional Officer Thomas allegedly added. “I messed up – she’s not to blame. We didn’t do any rounds.”
According to sources familiar with the case, the two correctional officers were recently offered plea deals after they were advised that federal prosecutors were preparing to file charges against them for allegedly fabricating official prison log entries, the Associated Press reported.
Both employees turned down the plea offers.
MCC correctional officers found the 66-year-old Tier 3 sex offender hanging in his cell at around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, according to ABC News.
Epstein was transported to New York Downtown Hospital in cardiac arrest before he was declared dead.
The billionaire had been jailed while facing charges for sexually abusing and trafficking children.
Epstein had been placed on a suicide watch after authorities believed he tried to kill himself on July 23, shortly after he was denied bail, The New York Times reported.
He was taken off suicide watch just six days later and returned to the cell he shared with another prisoner in 9 South, a special housing unit (SHU) inside the MCC.
But his roommate was removed from his cell a short time later.
Despite the fact that it is protocol to put a prisoner who has just been taken off suicide watch in a cell with another prisoner, Epstein didn’t get a new roommate before he allegedly killed himself, The New York Times reported.
Two prison officials have said that the staff members on duty the night Epstein tried to kill himself were supposed to be checking on him every 30 minutes, but had not looked in on him for three hours before he was found hanging.
Officials said that the employees had falsely recorded checks every 30 minutes in the logbook.
Three different officials told The New York Times that both employees had been asleep some, or all, of the three-hour period that preceded them finding Epstein hanging from his upper bunk by a bedsheet.
Epstein, who was closely associated with former President Bill Clinton, was facing countless charges for incidents with underage girls in his various homes and on his private jet known as the “Lolita Express.”
His death was anything but clear-cut.
Authorities said Epstein was found hanging from a noose fashioned from bedsheets, tied to the side of his bed, and after an initial delay, the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.
But a highly-respected pathologist hired by the billionaire’s family to observe the autopsy said late in October that the medical evidence suggested homicide was far more likely than suicide in Epstein’s case.
Former New York City Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Baden told FOX News Epstein had two fractures on the left and right sides of his larynx, specifically the thyroid cartilage or Adam’s apple, as well as one fracture on the left hyoid bone above the Adam’s apple.
“Those three fractures are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation,” the former medical examiner said. “I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case.”
The famous forensic pathologist has examined more than 20,000 bodies during his career, and said too many questions remained to call Epstein’s death a suicide.
“I think that the evidence points toward homicide rather than suicide because there are multiple, three fractures in the hyoid bone thyroid cartilage that are very unusual for suicide and more indicative of strangulation, homicidal strangulation,” Baden told FOX News.
The doctor said “hanging does not cause these broken bones, and homicide does.”
He stopped short of blatantly calling the medical examiner’s ruling wrong.
“It appears that this could have been a mistake,” Baden said. “There’s evidence here of homicide that should be investigated, to see if it is or isn’t homicide.”
That, on top of the fact that Epstein was left alone in his cell, the surveillance cameras nearby stopped working at the time of his death, and the guards on duty claim to have been napping when he died, has inspired a justified conspiracy theory that has become a viral social media phenomenon.
Baden said that the combination of security failures was something that he had never seen in 50 years of investigating and called the scenario “extremely unlikely.”