fb-pixel

A phone wrapped in tin foil. A last-minute attempt to flee. Legal filing recounts dramatic capture of Ghislaine Maxwell in N.H.

Audrey Strauss, the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, discussed Ghislaine Maxwell's arrest on July 2.
Audrey Strauss, the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, discussed Ghislaine Maxwell's arrest on July 2.JOSE ALVARADO JR./NYT

A panicked Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite charged with helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls in the 1990s, tried to flee to another room inside her stately New Hampshire home on July 2 when she looked out the window and saw FBI agents coming to arrest her, prosecutors said Monday.

The dramatic recounting of the arrest came in a legal filing prosecutors submitted Monday in US District Court for the Southern District in Manhattan, where Maxwell, 58, is slated for arraignment Tuesday on six felony counts including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and perjury.

Advertisement



In the filing, prosecutors said FBI agents who arrived at Maxwell’s home in Bradford, N.H., discovered the property was barred by a locked gate. Agents breached the gate, the document said, and noticed a person later determined to be a private security guard on the property.

As they approached the front door, the filing said, agents announced themselves and directed Maxwell to open the door.

“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 filing said. “Agents were ultimately forced to breach the door in order to enter the house to arrest the defendant, who was found in an interior room in the house.”

Agents also spotted an electronic device that looked suspicious, according to the filing, which 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.”

Prosecutors made their submission Monday in response to a filing last week from Maxwell’s lawyers, who are requesting that she be freed on a $5 million bond with conditions while the case is pending.

Advertisement



Maxwell, who is being held at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, on Friday waived her presence at Tuesday’s proceedings, which will be held remotely and which will also include her bail hearing.

Her lawyers didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment Monday but have said in court papers that Maxwell “vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.”

The defense is proposing terms of release including a $5 million bond cosigned by “six financially responsible people” and secured “by real property in the United Kingdom” worth more than $3.75 million; the surrender of all of Maxwell’s travel documents; and home confinement in the Southern District of New York with GPS monitoring, among other conditions, legal filings show.

Prosecutors said Monday that Maxwell’s proposed conditions don’t pass legal muster.

According to prosecutors, the security guard at Maxwell’s home on East Washington Road in Bradford, N.H., told agents her brother had hired a security company staffed by former members of the British military to guard Maxwell. Maxwell, the filing said, gave the guards a credit card in the name of the LLC that bought the home in cash.

The guard present at the residence during Maxwell’s arrest told agents she hadn’t left the premises during his time working there, and that he was sent to make purchases for the property with the credit card, according to the filing.

Advertisement



Noting that Maxwell has vast wealth and citizenship in France, which doesn’t extradite citizens to the US under French law, prosecutors reiterated their contention that she’s a flight risk and should be detained pending trial. Maxwell is also a citizen of the US and the United Kingdom, records show.

Prosecutors say Maxwell and Epstein groomed girls for participation in sexually abusive behavior by building a rapport with them through shopping trips, taking them to the movies, and spending time with them. As the ties strengthened, Maxwell would introduce sexualized behavior, ultimately leading to Epstein abusing the girls, sometimes with Maxwell’s participation or presence, prosecutors allege.

Authorities allege that girls were sexually assaulted in Epstein’s Manhattan residence, in his home in Palm Beach, Fla., and at a sprawling ranch in New Mexico. The indictment alleges Maxwell played a role “in the sexual abuse and exploitation of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein,” specifically three girls who were allegedly abused in the 1990s.

Epstein, a wealthy financier who counted US presidents, British royalty, and stars of academia among his friends, died last summer in federal custody while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His death has been ruled a suicide.

Maxwell has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and called some of the claims against her “absolute rubbish.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.