by Ed Lyon
Of the many mysteries surrounding Jeffery Epstein, including exactly where the billionaire got his fabulous wealth before committing suicide in a Manhattan cell in August 2020—while awaiting trial on charges of sex-trafficking in underage girls—the question of who is responsible was officially decided when federal prosecutors accepted a plea deal in May 2021 from two federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) guards who failed to check on Esptein and then lied about it.
But that case remained active pending cooperation with prosecutors by the two now-fired guards, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas. As federal judge Analisa Torres admonished the men on May 25, 2021, the deal gave them “a chance to avoid a criminal conviction,” adding “I trust you’ll comply with the terms,” so that they will also remain out of jail.
As previously reported by PLN, the two guards were sentenced to 100 hours each of community service while under 6 months of supervised release, in exchange for their admission that they falsified records to show they completed required checks on Epstein—who was on suicide watch at BOP’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MCC)—while instead they were napping or shopping online. The two must also assist and cooperate with federal investigators looking into Epstein’s death. [See: PLN, June 2021, p.62]
On December 30, 2021, federal prosecutors moved to close the case, telling the court there was “satisfactory compliance with the terms of the agreement.” More eyebrows had been raised earlier when, as the two guards were taking the fall for BOP lapses that then-Attorney General William P. Barr called “appalling,” the agency attempted to whisk their superiors off to new assignments. Jermaine Darden, who directly supervised Noel and Thomas, was sent to serve as Emergency Preparedness Officer at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ft. Dix, New Jersey, where former MCC Warden Lamine N’Diaye had already been transferred to “a senior leadership position,” though Barr later delayed that move. [See: PLN, August 2020, p.34)]
There seemed to be a great deal more to investigate when Epstein’s former cellmate at MCC, Efrain “Stone” Reyes, cast doubt on Epstein’s purported method of suicide, saying that bunks at MCC are too low to facilitate hanging oneself with a bedsheet, as authorities concluded Epstein did. Reyes also said that the guards’ failures were not the only ruses permeating the case, reporting that MCC staff members “were treating [Epstein] like crap … making him sleep on the floor … (and) other prisoners continually tried extorting him.” But Reyes took whatever else he knew to his grave in November 2020, when he succumbed to COVID-19. [See: PLN, May 2021, p. 61]
Additional BOP documents reported by the New York Times in December 2021 detail attempts by Epstein to assuage fears he might again try to kill himself after an earlier suicide attempt a month before he died.
“I have no interest in killing myself,” Epstein told a BOP psychologist, calling himself a “coward” who did not like pain and adding: “I would not do that to myself.”
Famous pathologist Michael Baden conducted an autopsy of Epstein after his death and concluded he had been murdered. We previously noted that the cameras monitoring Epstein’s cell mysteriously malfunctioned and were apparently not working at the time of his death. And other prisoners reported hearing screams from his cell at the time of his death.
Epstein’s former lover, heiress Ghislaine Maxwell, was convicted on December 30, 2021 on charges of procuring some of the billionaire’s underage victims. She is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, a Czech immigrant to the U.K. whose wealth was also a subject of speculation before he was found floating dead in the Atlantic Ocean next to his yacht in 1991, after which his tabloid empire imploded under revelations he had raided employees’ pension funds, leaving the pensioners to receive only half of the funds they were due. The elder Maxwell had extensive ties to Israeli intelligence services. See: United States. v. Noel, USDC, S.D.N.Y., Case No. 19-cr-00830.
Additional sources: New York Times, Reuters, WJTV
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Related legal case
United States. v. Noel
|Cite||USDC, S.D.N.Y., Case No. 19-cr-00830|