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After Epstein Death Deferred Prosecution For MCC Guards Now Nolle Prosequi After GMax Conviction

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Scope Song

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 30 – After Jeffrey Epstein reportedly committed suicide in the Metropolitan Correctional Center on November 25, 2019 a trial date of April 20, 2020 was set for two MCC officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Analisa Torres.

  On January 30, 2020, after a heated discussion of defense lawyers' rights to go on vacation, the trial was postponed first to June 8, then to June 22. Inner City Press live-tweeted thread here and below. More on Patreon here.

 On Friday May 21, 2021, after 5 pm the US Attorney's Office for the SDNY put in a letter mentioning but withholding a deferred prosecution agreement for Thomas and Noel: "Re: United States v. Noel and Thomas, 19 Cr. 830 (AT) Dear Judge Torres: The Government submits this letter to inform the Court that the parties have entered into  deferred prosecution agreements (the “Agreements”), which have been approved by Pretrial  Services and are included for the Court’s consideration."

On May 25, Judge Analisa Torres help a short proceeding and approved the deferred prosecution agreements. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here and below.

 On December 30, 2021, the day after Epstein's co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of five of the six sex trafficking counts against her, the SDNY US Attorney's Office filed as to Tova Noel and Michael Thomas a Nolle Prosequi entirely disposing of the case against them. Closing the books...

From May 25: Assistant US Attorney: The parties have agreed to two deferred prosecution agreements --

Judge Torres: Have they been signed?

AUSA: Yes. I could summarize the terms: duration of six months, pre-trial supervision, disclosing all info about employment at BOP

AUSA: They admit having filed false information about the SHU. They waive speedy trial rights and statute of limitations. After six months, the government will move to dismiss. ''Judge Torres: I'm going to ask some questions.

Judge Torres: Did you discuss this agreement with your attorneys? Yes. Yes.

Judge Torres: Do you understand that the BOP could still take administrative action against you? Yes. Yes.

 Judge Torres: You are admitting to false reports on Aug 9 & 10, 2019? Yes. Yes.

Judge Torres: I will sign the orders and file them today.

AUSA: While the agreements contain a waiver of speed trial time, why don't we exclude time?

Judge Torres: Application granted. I trust you take full advantage.

    Watch this site - and this song.

 On September 8 Michael Thomas' lawyer Montell Figgins submitted a letter to Judge Torres, citing COVID-19 health concerns and asking to put the trial back from January to May 3, 2021. On September 10 a proceeding was held before Judge Analisa Torres and it was further pushed back. Inner City Press live tweeted here:

AUSA is opposing adjourning the trial for more investigation, but would consent to delay for lawyer Montell Figgins' health. But Noel's lawyer Foy says SDNY Judge Ramos has scheduled him for another trial in February.

Judge Torres: I'm sure we won't have a courtroom on January 11. So I'll set it for June 14, 2021. How long will it take?

AUSA: In a week. Defense: 2 weeks.

Judge Torres: Let's do a status conference on January 14 at 1 pm. Any applications? AUSA: Exclude time.

Foy: At 12:53 pm today we received notice from the US that there will be more discovery material.

AUSA: There has been tangential FOIA proceedings, we've gotten more info from the Bureau of Prisons. Judge Torres: Time excluded under Speedy Trial Act to Jan 14.

Judge Torres: I wish you good health. Our conference is at an end.

  Back on January 30 after the proceeding when Montell Figgins held a Q&A session outside Judge Torres' courtroom Inner City Press asked him to explain the attempts to terminate his client's employement. He said it is leave without pay pending an administrative proceeding. He added, "The death of a billionaire brings a lot of heat." He still wants the Inspector General's report. We'll have more on this.

 On January 27 Jason Foy requested a postponement of trial until October. The US Attorney's office opposed it: "the requested six-month adjournment is both unnecessary and unwarranted.    By way of background, as is set forth in the Indictment, the charges in this case relate to a period of just over 14 hours—from approximately 4:00 p.m. on August 9, 2019 to approximately 6:30 a.m. the following day, August 10, 2019.  The Government has made three discovery productions—(1) the main production on December 31, 2019; (2) a small supplemental production on January 23, 2020; and (3) a reproduction of video surveillance footage with timestamps on January 24, 2020.1  While the December 31, 2019 discovery production consisted of a large number of pages of materials, many of those materials were produced principally in anticipation of defense requests and to help facilitate the very sort of broader investigation the defendants now claim they need to undertake.  For example, the Government produced MCC video surveillance for a period of longer than one month (July 5, 2019 to August 12, 2019); count slips for nearly three weeks (July 23, 2019 to August 14, 2019); thirty-minute round reports for more than a month (July 1, 2019 to August 10, 2019); and materials relating to the events of July 23, 2019.  Similarly, with respect to defendant Noel, the Government provided in discovery to her only a report from her cellphone, which consists of more than 20,000 pages, very few of which, if any, are relevant to the pending charges."

  We'll have more on this. And this: Britain's Prince Andrew has provided "zero cooperation" to the SDNY on Jeffrey Epstein, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Bermansaid Monday. "To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation," said Berman...

  Inner City Press asks: if the dead prisoner were like most of those kept in the MCC, would anyone have been charged? We'll have more on this. More on Patreon here.

  Back on November 19 Inner City Press found a dozen MCC officers milling around on the 15th floor, in Crisis Support Team jackets. Inner City Press tweet.

At the arraignment that day Noel's lawyer Jason Foy asked that she be allowed to keep her gun for personal use. SDNY Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn, who the day previously has also cited the safety of pre-trial services officers, denied the request saying that the PTS officers will have to enforced the conditions of release.

  While Thomas slipping out the employees' entrance with a jacket over his head, his lawyer Montel Figgins to his credit stood and delivered on Worth Street, saying that while many people make mistakes at work they don't all get charged and face jail time. Inner City Press Periscope video here. We will continue to follow this case.

From the indictment: "On or about August 10, 2019, TOVA NOEL and MICHAEL  THOMAS, the defendants, in  dereliction of their duties as  as  correctional officers at the Metropolitan Correctional Center ("MCC"), repeatedly failed to perform mandated counts of prisoners  under their watch in the MCC's Special Housing Unit ("SHU").  Instead, for substantial portions of their shifts, NOEL and THOMAS  sat at their desk, browsed the internet, and moved around the  common area of the SHU. To conceal their failure to perform their duties, NOEL and THOMAS repeatedly signed false certifications  attesting to having conducted multiple counts of inmates when, truth and in fact, they never conducted such counts. As a result  of those false statements, the MCC believed prisoners in the SHU were being regularly monitored and accounted for when, in fact, as  a result of the defendants' conduct, no correctional officer conducted any count or round of the SHU from approximately 10:30 p.m. on August 9 until approximately 6:30 a.m. on August 10, at which time, as alleged herein, NOEL and THOMAS discovered the body  of an MCC inmate, Jeffrey Epstein, who had committed suicide  overnight while unobserved." Inner City Press will have more on this - it covered the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrates Court on November 18, and also the courtroom of SDNY Judge Torres, with it lights on the blink.

Epstein's death came eleven days after Inner City Press exclusively reported irregularities at the MCC including Epstein then being allowed to use without supervision all day, every day one of the only two legal visit rooms for prisons in the Special Housing Unit of the MCC.

  Now on August 12 after the Daily News' intrepid Stephen Brown called District Judge Richard Berman's chambers on behalf of the SDNY Press Room requesting comment and was told that "Jeffrey Epstein's death is a tragedy to everyone involved in this case," several questions arise.

  Will Judge Berman, or another judge, inquire not only what happened in the hours before Epstein's death, but also the days? Why was Epstein allowed to spend so much time presumably outside of any MCC filming in the legal meeting room? Was what took place in there all legal? We'll have more on this.

   Other defense lawyers exclusively complained to Inner City Press about not being able to see on a timely basis their clients in the MCC. Now what will be done about the MCC's (lack of) supervision, including by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Richard M. Berman?

   Epstein had shifts of lawyers purporting to meet with him all day, in a room where the other Criminal Justice Act lawyers said Epstein had access to the Internet. The CJA lawyers had to wait up to four hours to see their clients.

  "It's outrageous," one of the lawyers told Inner City Press. "El Chapo is the only other one who tried this, but he was in a special unit so it didn't impact the rest of us." More on Patreon here.

  Other child sex defendants have conditions that they cannot use the Internet. They are also supervised, especially but not only when on suicide watch. But with Epstein paying lawyers to meet with him all day in the MCC, he was allowed to use the 'Net and presumably more.

Inner City Press will continue to cover this and other SDNY and 2nd Circuit cases - watch this site, and there is more on Patreon, here.

This case is US v. Noel, et al., 19-cr-830 (Torres)


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