Lawyers for accused child trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell are furious that the FBI stormed her New Hampshire hideout to arrest her, calling the dramatic predawn raid by heavily armed agents nothing more than “a media presentation” that could prejudice potential jurors, according to a court brief filed today.
“Because plain vanilla surrenders lack the fanfare and attendant media coverage afforded to secret, armed, raids at dawn, the Government chose to invade Ms. Maxwell’s New Hampshire residence, arrest her, and stage a media presentation that included numerous statements that prejudice Ms. Maxwell’s right to a fair trial,” her attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca wrote.
Maxwell, 58, a British heiress and former paramour to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, has “been in active communication” with government officials since Epstein was arrested on federal sex crime charges last July, Pagliuca wrote.
Epstein was found dead in his cell a month later, a death that the Bureau of Prisons has called a suicide. Epstein’s family and others dispute that ruling and surveillance cameras in his cell malfunctioned, according to court records. Maxwell subsequently went into hiding; she was was first spotted at a tony mansion in Manchester by the Sea and then tracked to rural New Hampshire.
Pagliuca’s brief also took aim at FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney who told reporters that Maxwell was undoubtedly “one of the villains in this investigation” and compared her to a snake that “slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire” before her arrest.
“Thus, Mr. Sweeney offers the Government’s, again flatly wrong, opinions about character and guilt while, at the same time, invoking a semi-biblical reference involving a snake slithering away to a garden,” Pagliuca wrote.
Prosecutors, however, point out in a detention brief that Maxwell paid cash for the aptly named $1 million mountain estate TuckedAway using an elaborate trust that hid her interest. The government also point to the heavy lock on Maxwell’s gate that agents had to cut through and to the British security guards that were hired to protect the perimeter of her estate. That morning, the government says, when Maxwell saw FBI agents, she was anything but cooperative.
“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. Agents were ultimately forced to breach the door,” prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors also say that Maxwell secretly married while on the run and refuses to identify that spouse. In addition, Maxwell has access to at least $20 million she stashed in various bank accounts and is a passport-holding citizen of France—which does not extradite its citizens—as well as the U.K. and the U.S.
She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center, the same federal lockup where Epstein died.
In today’s filing her lawyers asked U.S. District Court Justice Alison Nathan to officially limit commentary from law enforcement connected to the case. “We request that the Court enter an order prohibiting the Government, its agents and counsel for witnesses from making extrajudicial statements concerning this case,” Pagluica wrote. “These types of comments, which serve no compelling law enforcement or investigatory purpose, are prohibited by the local rules of this District.”
Earlier this month, prosecutors asked a judge to issue a protective order on discovery materials connected to Maxwell’s arrest, materials that could identify other targets of the ongoing probe. In addition to the decade she is facing behind bars, Maxwell has been named in 15 civil suits filed by Epstein victims.
For nearly a year, a joint NYPD/FBI task force has built its case against Epstein’s purported madam using the Mann Act, which targets sex traffickers. Investigators have subpoenaed former Epstein pilots and raided his island home, working to prove allegations that between 1994 and 1997, Maxwell and Epstein—and possibly others—abused young girls at his Upper East Side townhouse; his Palm Beach, Florida, estate; his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and at Maxwell’s home in London.
Maxwell is now also charged with perjury for allegedly lying about her role in Epstein’s perversions and her own alleged abuse of underage girls in a deposition as part of a 2016 civil litigation. She was asked if Epstein had a “scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages.”
She responded: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” according to the indictment. Maxwell also denied interacting with anyone under the age of 17 at Epstein’s properties or her own and said she wasn’t aware that Epstein had a substantial collection of sex toys at his properties.
Acting United States Attorney Audrey Strauss has said repeatedly that the investigation into other potential child abusers connected to Epstein is ongoing and point to “documentary evidence,” including witness statements and flight logs that will be logged as discovery for Maxwell’s upcoming trial.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump, who was photographed with Maxwell on a number of occasions, told reporters that he “wishes her well.”
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