Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime Jeffrey Epstein confidant accused of helping him sexually abuse underage girls, tried to hide from federal agents during her July arrest—and even wrapped her cell phone in tin foil in “a misguided effort to evade detection,” prosecutors said Monday.
Federal prosecutors made the shocking disclosure about Maxwell’s July 2 arrest at her ultra-secluded New Hampshire mansion in court documents arguing against her release from federal prison on a $5 million bond. Maxwell, 58, is in custody at a federal detention facility in New York after being charged with allegedly enticing minors, some as young as 14, to engage in illegal sex acts with Epstein in the mid-1990s.
On Friday, Maxwell’s lawyer argued that the 58-year-old has not been hiding from authorities since the pedophile billionaire’s jailhouse suicide in August—but from an “unrelenting and intrusive media.”
Prosecutors hit back on Monday, stating that the socialite does not deserve any “special treatment” and that her actions over the last year prove she is an “extraordinary” flight risk. The memo also pointed to the millions Maxwell has in various bank accounts overseas.
“To the extent the defendant now refuses to account for her ownership of or access to vast wealth, it is not because it does not exist—it is because she is attempting to hide it,” prosecutors wrote, noting that “there should be no question that the defendant is skilled at living in hiding.”
After Epstein’s jailhouse suicide last summer, the hunt was on for the dead financier’s longtime consort, whom he once described as his “best friend” and who was complicit in the sexual trafficking of underage girls, according to his victims.
Prosecutors said Monday that the morning of July 2, FBI agents arrived at her remote, 156-acre property in New Hampshire, broke her blocked gate, and announced themselves at the door.
Through the window, prosecutors state, agents saw the 58-year-old socialite “ignore the direction to open the door” and instead try “to flee to another room in the house, quickly shutting the door behind her.” As a result, the agents had to forcibly enter her home, where they arrested her in an “interior room in the house.”
“Moreover, as the agents conducted a security sweep of the house, they also noticed a cell phone wrapped in tin foil on top of a desk, a seemingly misguided effort to evade detection, not by the press or public, which of course would have no ability to trace her phone or intercept her communications, but by law enforcement,” prosecutors wrote.
The court filing states that when agents questioned a security guard on the property, they discovered that Maxwell’s brother had also hired a security company staffed with former members of the British military to guard her in “rotations.”
“The guard informed the FBI that the defendant had not left the property during his time working there and that instead, the guard was sent to make purchases for the property using the credit card,” prosecutors stated in the court filing.
In the six-count indictment against Maxwell, prosecutors allege that she took part “in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein.” From 1994 to at least 1997, “Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” it says. Some of the alleged victims were as young as 14.
In the Friday memo, her lawyers state Maxwell “vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.” They also argue she should be granted bail because of the COVID-19 threat in jail.
“Ever since Epstein’s arrest, Ms. Maxwell has been at the center of a crushing onslaught of press articles, television specials, and social media posts painting her in the most damning light possible and prejudging her guilt,” the defense lawyer stated in the Friday memo.
Stressing that “Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein,” her lawyers argued she should be released from federal prison on a $5 million bond with travel restrictions, home confinement, and GPS monitoring. In the memo, her lawyers also stressed that Maxwell is not a flight risk and that she is as much of a victim of Epstein, with whom she had not had contact for more than a decade.
But prosecutors said Monday Maxwell played an “essential role” in Epstein’s scheme, and stated that additional witnesses have come forward who are willing to provide “detailed, credible” evidence “which has the potential to make the Government’s case even stronger.” At least “one or more victims” will testify at Maxwell’s detention hearing on Tuesday in New York, the memo added.
“At the heart of this case are brave women who are victims of serious crimes that demand justice,” prosecutors said in the Monday court filing. “The defendant’s motion wholly fails to appreciate the driving force behind this case: The defendant’s victims were sexually abused as minors as a direct result of Ghislaine Maxwell’s actions, and they have carried the trauma from these events for their entire adult lives.”