Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime confidant of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, reportedly wrapped her cellphone in tin foil as part of "a misguided effort to evade detection." NBC News reports that the federal agents who arrested her discovered the cellphone in her New Hampshire home, revealing the information on Monday following her request to be released from jail while she awaits trial.
"There will be no trial for the victims if the defendant is afforded the opportunity to flee the jurisdiction, and there is every reason to think that is exactly what she will do if she is released," prosecutors revealed in a court filing on Monday. The news of her tin foil-wrapped cellphone were revealed by prosecutors as part of new details they believe show Maxwell is a risk outside of detention.
Prosecutors described the phone wrapped in tin foil as a "seemingly misguided effort to evade detection, not by the press or public, which of coruse have no ability to trace her phone or intercept her communications, but by law enforcement."
Another factor prosecutors pointed to was her insistance on refusing to acknowledge her wealth. "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 added, noting that she controls a Swiss trust worth $4 million and has an English bank account with around $2 million in it.
Maxwell was arrested by the FBI on July 2 after numerous women publicly accused her of helping to "recruit" underage girls for Epstein. When FBI agents showed up to her home, she could allegedly be seen trying to flee the scene 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," the court papers added.
The indictment against her alleges that she "assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein's abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse" them. She has been accused of participating in the grooming of Epstein's victims, taking them shopping or befriending them prior to abuse. Additionally, it is claimed that Maxwell had been "present for and participated in" the abuse of a number of underage victims, many of whom were "as young as 14" at the time.
Among the charges she is facing are conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. "Ghislaine Maxwell facilitated, aided, and participated in acts of sexual abuse of minors," said acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in a press release.
Around a week after her arrest, authorities indicated that they were worried she might try to kill herself in jail. Epstein allegedly killed himself behind bars as he awaited trial, although some have suggested that he was murdered in order to stop him from exposing other possible abusers and pedophiles.