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Jeffrey Epstein guards charged with falsifying records

US financier Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photograph taken for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services' sex offender registry on 28 March, 2017.

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Reuters

Two prison guards who were on duty on the night of Jeffrey Epstein’s death have been charged with falsifying records.

They are accused of failing to check in on him every 30 minutes and fabricating log entries to show they had.

Epstein hanged himself in jail in August while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.

The charges against the two guards are the first to arise from a criminal inquiry into his death.

Epstein, a wealthy financier, had pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing dozens of girls, some as young as 14.

The 66-year-old was already a convicted sex offender, having been jailed in Florida in 2008 for procuring a minor for prostitution.

What are the two guards accused of?

The two guards were supposed to check on Epstein every 30 minutes on the night of his death. He had been taken off suicide watch after a previous suspected attempt to take his own life and was alone in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.

But the southern district of New York attorney’s office said they had “repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates, and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction”.

The guards were named in a statement on Tuesday as correctional officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas.

Both guards were working overtime shifts on the night of Epstein’s death.

US Attorney General William Barr ordered their suspension in August after the FBI opened an investigation.

Federal prosecutors later offered the guards a plea bargain, but they turned it down, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Who was Jeffrey Epstein and what was he charged with?

New York-born Epstein worked as a teacher before moving into finance. Prior to the criminal cases against him, he was best known for his wealth and high-profile connections.

He was often seen socialising with the rich and powerful, including US President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and the UK’s Prince Andrew.

Epstein was accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005. He was arrested on 6 July.

He avoided similar charges in a controversial deal in 2008, pleading guilty to a lesser charge of soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution.

Jeffrey Epstein guards charged with falsifying records

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