By: AARON KATERSKY, JAMES HILL and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Ghislaine Maxwell tried to “flee” FBI agents during her arrest earlier this month at her New Hampshire estate, where investigators found a “cell phone wrapped in tin foil,” federal prosecutors allege in new court documents filed Monday.
Maxwell, 58, was arrested on July 2 and charged in a six-count indictment alleging that she conspired with Jeffrey Epstein in a multi-state sex trafficking scheme involving three unnamed minor victims between 1994 and 1997.
In the new pretrial filing, federal prosecutors allege that when FBI agents directed Maxwell to open the door to the house on the 156-acre estate on the morning of her arrest, Maxwell tried to “flee to another room in the house, quickly shutting a door behind her.”
“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,” the document stated.
As agents searched the house, they found a foil-wrapped cell phone on a desk, according to prosecutors, in “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.”
Since Maxwell’s arrest, new witnesses have also come forward, according to the court filing. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office “have been in touch with additional individuals who have expressed a willingness to provide information regarding the defendant,” prosecutors said, adding that this new evidence “has the potential to make the government’s case even stronger.”
Maxwell’s lawyer, Laura Menninger, has called the federal charges “meritless” and said that Maxwell “vigorously denies” them.
Maxwell is currently being held at a federal jail in Brooklyn. She is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday at a bail hearing, where she is expected to publicly address the allegations against her for the first time.
Federal prosecutors argue that she is an extreme flight risk and should be held in custody until trial. Their latest filing repeats their concerns that Maxwell is a citizen of several countries, has access to “considerable wealth” and “appears to be skilled at living in hiding.”
Instead of pretrial detention, defense has suggested a $5 million bond and conditions to restrict her movements.
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