A federal judge set an April 30 trial for two Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) employees charged with falsifying records the night Jeffrey Epstein died, as attorneys for the accused decried a lack of accountability in the federal prison system, the New York Law Journal reports. Montell Figgins, representing Michael Thomas, told U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres he wanted to see an inspector general report, which he said could shed light on “conditions and supervision and policies” at the jail around the time of Epstein’s death while jailed on sex-trafficking charges. After the hearing, Figgins said Thomas was being used as a “scapegoat” for broader “systemic issues” at the federal Bureau of Prisons. Figgins raised questions about staffing at MCC and why Epstein was left in a cell by himself instead of with a cellmate.
“There’s only two people charged, but for this to happen, the whole system had to fail,” Figgins said. “Where are all the other people in the system who may have not done their job? There are allegations that my client didn’t do his job, and he’s facing going to jail. Is he the only one that didn’t do his job at MCC that night?” The comments followed a court appearance by Thomas and co-defendant Tova Noel, who both have pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying records and conspiracy to defraud the federal government. Prosecutors said Noel and Thomas were required to conduct five “institutional checks” and then complete paperwork to verify the counts. The indictment charges that Noel and Thomas failed to carry out the mandatory checks and submitted records falsely claiming that they had. Surveillance footage showed them sitting at their desk, browsing the internet and milling about. Epstein was found hanging at 6:30 a.m. Aug. 10.