Pressure mounted on Prince Andrew to speak to the FBI before Ghislaine Maxwell starts ‘naming names’.
Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison for child sex charges after officers swooped on her US bolthole on Thursday.
It comes as a close confidante of Maxwell says she will ‘never sell out’ Prince Andrew as part of any plea deal with investigators after she was arrested on child sex charges.
Laura Goldman, who has known Maxwell for several years, told The Telegraph she would ‘never’ offer information about alleged links between Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein.
‘The only way she can walk is if she gives someone up, but that definitely won’t be Andrew,’ Ms Goldman told the publication.
‘She is so appreciative that when she first came to New York, the Duke helped to launch her into high society. She always talks about what a true friend he is. She doesn’t see any reason to speak about him to the authorities.’
There is concern among royal circles over what implications Ms Maxwell’s arrest in New Hampshire on Thursday could have for the Duke, 60, who was reportedly introduced to the billionaire paedophile by her in 1999.
Tonight, a new photograph emerged of the socialite sitting in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace alongside actor Kevin Spacey in 2002, years before police began investigating Epstein’s links to sex trafficking and abuse.
Tonight’s bombshell revelation comes as the Mail can reveal:
- Maxwell started legal moves to purchase her secluded New Hampshire bolthole the very day after Andrew’s car crash TV interview;
- Victims urged the duke to speak to the FBI, saying ‘more excuses, more delays’ were ‘torture’ for them;
- The duke’s immediate fate rests with Home Office officials who must judge if the US can quiz him in a court;
- Andrew’s accuser Virginia Roberts branded Maxwell ‘an evil monster’ and said she cried tears of joy at her arrest.
Laura Goldman, who has been friends with Ghislaine Maxwell for several years said she would ‘never sell out’ Prince Andrew following her arrest on child sex charges
Yesterday one former associate of her late paedophile boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein predicted she would co-operate fully with the authorities in a bid to reduce any future jail time, adding: ‘There’s a lot of people very worried. She knows everything.’
One lawyer representing Epstein victims, Gloria Allred, said: ‘If Miss Maxwell decides that she is going to co-operate and talk about Prince Andrew… Prince Andrew might want to get to the prosecutors first.’
The duke’s allies insisted he wants to ‘do his best’, claiming he had tried unsuccessfully to break the deadlock with US prosecutors three times in the past month.
The comments came as former Epstein associate Steven Hoffenberg, a convicted fraudster who worked with the financier in the 1980s, said of Maxwell: ‘She’s going to co-operate and be very important. There’s a lot of people very worried. She knows everything. She’ll totally co-operate.’
Lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents six of Epstein’s victims, said it was ‘highly likely’ Maxwell, 58, would strike a plea deal with prosecutors.
Another lawyer representing more Epstein victims, Spencer Kuvin, agreed. ‘I think [Maxwell] will talk,’ he said. ‘She will be in panic mode, and will want to do anything to get a lighter sentence. For anyone who has culpability for anything over the past ten to 15 years, I’d be nervous.’
Chillingly, he added: ‘I don’t think she is going to get out of jail alive. I said the same thing about Jeffrey Epstein and people laughed at me. I think she knows way too much… I just have this gut feeling.’
Epstein hanged himself in his cell last August while awaiting trial on child sex charges. His guards were found to have faked records saying they had checked on him.
Conspiracy theories abound that Epstein was killed to stop him talking about his powerful friends. Prince Andrew stayed with Epstein at his mansions in New York, Florida and the Caribbean, where women have claimed they were abused. He also flew on Epstein’s private jet, nicknamed the ‘Lolita Express’.
However, he insisted last year that he never saw, witnesses or suspected ‘any behaviour of the sort’ that led to Epstein’s arrest and conviction for child sex offences.
London mayor Sadiq Khan was among those urging the duke to talk to US officials, telling LBC: ‘I think it’s really important for those of us in positions of power and influence to lead by example.
‘We shouldn’t lose sight of… who the victims are. The victims were children at the time, vulnerable children, young women, and it’s really important that anybody who’s got information helps the FBI and that includes Prince Andrew as well.’
Mrs Allred, who represents five Epstein victims, told Good Morning Britain: ‘I’m just so tired of the excuses. The victims want the truth. We know that Prince Andrew was at Epstein’s home in London and in Manhattan and elsewhere, so he is an important person, and if Miss Maxwell decides that she is going to co-operate and talk about Prince Andrew and what he did there, Prince Andrew might want to get to the prosecutors first.’
Yesterday sources close to the duke, 60, claimed he wants ‘to do his best to offer his assistance as a witness’. They insisted his legal team had been proactive, sending three emails in the past month to the Americans to ‘open negotiations’ to discuss the terms under which he might give a witness statement.
The last contact was made within the past few days but there has been no response, the sources said.
The FBI has made no secret of its wish to meet Andrew face-to-face and question him under oath – suggesting a statement drafted with his lawyers would not suffice.
One insider said Andrew and his team were puzzled as to why other high-profile men linked to Epstein were not being pursued with the same vigour.
‘It seems like the duke is a high-profile scalp for the Department of Justice and they are using his name to rattle cages and look like they are actively doing something,’ they said.
Andrew’s immediate fate is in the hands of Home Office officials, who must decide whether to grant US officials’ request for ‘mutual legal assistance’ made in April.
Under the terms of a 1994 treaty between the US and UK, this could see the duke forced to give evidence in a courtroom.
A specialist unit of civil servants within the Home Office is ‘processing’ the request ‘via the normal channels’, sources said.
Once their recommendation has been made, the final ruling is expected to be made by Home Secretary Priti Patel.
With no time limit attached to the request, officials may not wish to rush their decision. They may also hope the prince resolves the situation himself.
British socialite Maxwell, the daughter of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, now faces six federal charges including child abuse, trafficking and perjury.
She was said to have spent the first day following her arrest at Merrimack County Jail in Boscawen, New Hampshire. She will eventually be transferred to Manhattan, where she could end up in the jail where Epstein, 66, killed himself.
She was arrested in a secluded property in the New Hampshire, fittingly called ‘TuckedAway’. The Mail can reveal it was bought via limited company Granite Reality, which was established on November 18 last year.
This was one day after Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview, intended to clear up his relationship with Epstein but which led to him quitting frontline royal duties.
Maxwell has already made one brief court appearance in New Hampshire but has not entered any plea to allegations relating to three girls, one as young as 14 and another in London.
She allegedly befriended schoolgirls and took them shopping before luring them into Epstein’s clutches, as well as abusing them herself. She has previously denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Virginia Roberts, who claims she was Epstein’s teenage sex slave and was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times, thanked the FBI for arresting ‘an evil monster’.
Miss Roberts – whose claims the prince strenuously denies – added: ‘When I got the call, I was elated, crying tears of joy, laughing… finally, we got her. This woman found me, groomed me, abused me and handed me over to Jeffrey and his friends.’