New York, Nov 19 (AP) Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself were charged Tuesday with falsifying prison records.
A grand jury indictment made public Tuesday accused guards Toval Noel and Michael Thomas of neglecting their duties by failing to perform checks on Epstein every half hour, as required, and of fabricating log entries to show they had.
The charges against the officers are the first in connection with the wealthy financier's death in August at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.
The city's medical examiner ruled Epstein's death a suicide.
A message left with union officials representing the guards wasn't immediately returned.
Epstein's death while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused underage girls was a major embarrassment for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
The cell where he died was in a high-security unit, famous for having held terrorists and drug cartel kingpins. Epstein's death, though, revealed the jail was suffering from problems including chronic staffing shortages that lead to mandatory overtime for guards day after day and other staff being pressed into service as correctional officers.
Attorney General William Barr has said investigators found "serious irregularities" at the jail and the FBI's investigation had been slowed because some witnesses were uncooperative.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found July 23 on the floor of his cell with a bruised neck.
Multiple people familiar with operations at the jail say Epstein was taken off the watch after about a week, meaning he was less closely monitored but still supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes. (AP)
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