Two prison workers who allegedly fell asleep while guarding Jeffrey Epstein on the night he died will be spared jail despite admitting that they lied about checks on his cell.
Michael Thomas and Tova Noel have agreed to a plea deal with US prosecutors meaning they will skip prison over convictions for falsifying records relating to August 9.
The pair were charged after apparently napping and browsing the internet instead of keeping an eye on the millionaire paedophile throughout their shift, Liverpool Echo reports.
According to prosecutors, Thomas looked up sports news and motorcycle sales and Noel shopped online for furniture on the night.
Under a deferred prosecution agreement disclosed late on Friday, Noel and Thomas admitted “wilfully and knowingly” filling in forms saying they conducted regular checks on Epstein’s cell.
The bargain, which requires a judge’s approval and could be confirmed next week, will see the pair carry out 100 hours’ community service and serve six months of supervised release.
They must also cooperate fully with the US Justice Department’s probe into the convicted child abuser’s death.
Financier and registered sex offender Epstein, 66, was found hanging in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan on August 10 2019.
At the time of his death he was being held on remand accused of sex trafficking charges.
Epstein’s death, which was ruled a suicide by New York City’s top medical examiner, angered then-Attorney General William Barr, and prompted a management overhaul at the Manhattan jail.
Ben Sasse, a senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a vocal critic of the government’s handling of the Epstein case, blasted the deal as a “joke”.
In a statement, the Nebraskan Republican said: “Epstein’s victims have been failed at every single turn. One hundred hours of community service is a joke – this isn’t traffic court.”
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime associate, has also denied sex trafficking offences and charges that she procured underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse.
Maxwell’s lawyers have complained that guards in the Brooklyn jail where she is being held on remand regularly shine flashlights into her cell during the night, ostensibly to ensure her safety.
They have also said Maxwell, who is expected to go on trial in November, is not a suicide risk and wants her day in court.