US federal prosecutors said on Monday that Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and suspected associate of deceased sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, attempted to evade FBI agents by wrapping her cellphone in tin foil to avoid detection before being arrested earlier this month, according to Fox News.
Prosecutors reportedly cited the details in court argument in a bid to block Maxwell’s request to be released on $5 million bail ahead of her trial. Prosecutors argued that the 58-year-old is “skilled at living in hiding” and could potentially attempt to flee justice, citing her wealth, lack of meaningful ties to the New York area and her French citizenship, which, according to French law, forbids the extradition of its citizens to the US.
During their arguments, prosecutors narrated to the court some of Maxwell’s detaining events at her house in New Hampshire and her “seemingly misguided effort to evade detection”.
Federal prosecutors told the court that FBI agents breached the front gate of the property and then breached the front door to the home as Maxwell had ignored the agents’ order to open it. She was found inside one of the rooms of the house.
“Through a window, the agents saw the defendant ignore the direction to open the door and, instead, try to flee to another room in the house, quickly shutting a door behind her,” prosecutors wrote in the court documents, cited by Fox News.
Agents found a cellphone wrapped in tin foil on a desk in an apparent attempt by Epstein’s ‘pimp’ to “evade detection”, prosecutors said.
“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,” the court documents read.
Arrested on 2 July, Maxwell has been charged with six counts of cooperating in the trafficking of underage girls with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died in mysterious circumstances in a New York jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial.
The British defendant, who denies the accusations, filed a request to the court last week, demanding to be released on a $5 million bond, with her lawyers citing COVID-19 infection fears.
“The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell arise from her essential role in sexual exploitation that caused deep and lasting harm to vulnerable victims,” prosecutors said on Monday. “For years before her arrest in this case, the defendant likely believed she had gotten away with her crimes. That illusion has now been shattered, and she has a host of new reasons to use her considerable resources to flee”.