Epstein, who was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008, was due to stand trial for sex trafficking offences last year but he killed himself in prison before he could appear in court. The late financier’s partner Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested last week on sex trafficking charges and was in court this week, where she pleaded not guilty, but was denied bail, the judge citing a serious flight risk. Ms Maxwell ‒ who is married, prosecutors claimed yesterday ‒ is a long-time friend of the Duke of York, the pair having met at university, and it was she who first introduced him to Epstein.
Prince Andrew has also been accused of having sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, when she was a sex trafficking victim of Epstein’s, a total of three times.
Prince Andrew has denied any wrongdoing and said he does not recall ever meeting Ms Roberts.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement that read: “It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.
“Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
Prince Andrew has come under fire for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein
Ghislaine Maxwell has been denied arrested on charges of sex trafficking and was denied bail
While there is no criminal investigation into Prince Andrew, US prosecutors have repeatedly said they wish to speak to him as a witness to the crimes of Epstein and Ms Maxwell.
However, the scandal surrounding his friendship with Epstein, Ms Roberts’ accusation and the row over his cooperation with the FBI risks reputational damage.
Last week, prominent lawyers representing Epstein victims said there were still more victims coming forward.
Brad Edwards, who represents Prince Andrew’s accuser Ms Roberts, said he had “more clients” who claimed to have been in the Duke’s presence during their time as sex trafficking victims of Epstein.
Brad Edwards, lawyer for Epstein victims
He said: “It is not only Virginia ‒ we have several other clients who were in [Andrew’s] presence and Mr Epstein’s presence.”
Andrew, who stayed at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion and flew on his private jet nicknamed the Lolita Express, has denied seeing or suspecting any abuse.
Another lawyer, Gloria Allred, who represents 16 Epstein victims, said she has been contacted by several British women who also claim to have been victims of the billionaire.
She also spoke disparagingly about the Duke of York and the row over whether he is collaborating with the FBI investigation or not.
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Attorney Gloria Allred
US prosecutors – who are treating the Duke of York as a witness – have claimed he is not cooperating, but Andrew’s team are apparently “bewildered” by this and claim they have reached out three times.
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
In last week’s episode, Mr Myers described these latest updates as “very damaging” to Andrew.
He said: “The twist in this case over the last couple of days is that very prominent lawyers, that our listeners will no doubt have heard of over the last few months, have been making certain claims that more victims are yet to come out and more victims have been contacting the lawyers involved.
“One of the lawyers involved – who represented Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who is Prince Andrew’s accuser – Brad Williams has been saying that he believes there are other victims yet to come forward who will also lay claim to the fact that they were in the presence of Prince Andrew when they were subject to a catalogue of abuse from Jeffrey Epstein.
“Now, the issue here is of course Prince Andrew has denied any wrongdoing against these allegations that have been levelled against him.
“But one of the other prominent lawyers, Gloria Allred, who represents a number of the victims has claimed this week that she has had British women that have come forward to claim that they were abused by Jeffrey Epstein.
“She was also quite bullish in his remarks about saying that he is waiting for an invitation to speak to the FBI which he ‘wants to be delivered on a silver platter’.
Andrew’s accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, holds a picture of herself aged 16
“Now these are very damaging claims and allegations indeed.”
He added that the arrest of Ms Maxwell will be heaping pressure on Andrew and on his team to facilitate a meeting with FBI investigators in the US.
Manhattan prosecutor Audrey Strauss said she would welcome a statement or cooperation from the Duke, while his team are still insisting they have reached out three times.
Mr Myers said: “This is a long-running saga and no doubt people at the Palace are watching this very, very intently and Andrew really needs to get his ducks in a row.
“He certainly has a choice to make now, because US prosecutors keep on repeating this statement that they want to speak to him and it can’t be as simple as they’re in touch with the wrong people or they’re sending the request to the wrong email address, whatever side that is.
“I think the pressure will be on Andrew and he’s got to make that date, he’s got to be inking that date in his diary to speak to the US prosecutors because this is not going away any time soon.”
Indeed, Andrew’s biographer Nigel Cawthorne said in an earlier episode this month that if Andrew really wanted to cooperate he could always “get on a plane” to the US or indeed go to the US embassy in London, where there is an FBI office.
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