The news Thursday that Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein, had been arrested on sex trafficking charges set off a flurry of speculation about which of the late financier’s rich and famous friends should be most worried about what she could reveal.
President Donald Trump? Former President Bill Clinton? Prince Andrew? Those are among the well-known names being tossed around on Twitter Thursday. However, it was Andrew’s name specifically that came up in the press conference by U.S. authorities to address Maxwell’s arrest. Among other things, Andrew admits he has stayed friends with Maxwell up until recently, even after he said he cut ties with Epstein.
When asked about Andrew’s connection to the case, Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, declined to comment on the status of any particular person in the investigation.
But she said she “would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us,” Courthouse News reported on Twitter. “We would like to have the benefit of his statement,” Strauss said, adding their doors remain open.
Andrew, 60, has been accused of having sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged under-aged victims, three times in 2001 when she was 17. In a civil lawsuit and in interviews, Giuffre said she was recruited and groomed by Maxwell to have sex with Epstein and to provide sexual services to his famous and powerful friends.
Epstein hanged himself last August in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where he had been jailed pending trial on new federal sex-trafficking charges. Federal prosecutors are continuing to investigate his associates.
The Duke of York reportedly met Epstein through Maxwell, a British socialite, in the late 1990s. Andrew said he had known Maxwell, the daughter of the late, disgraced London newspaper magnate, Robert Maxwell, since when she was at Oxford University.
Following his 1996 divorce from Sarah Ferguson, Queen Elizabeth’s second son was drawn into Epstein’s lifestyle, which reports say featured private jet travel, powerful connections and the presence of pretty young females at his lavish homes in Florida, Manhattan and the Virgin Islands.
Andrew in turn hosted Epstein and Maxwell at the queen’s Balmoral and Sandringham estates and invited them to his daughter Beatrice’s 18th birthday party at Windsor Castle in 2006, days before Epstein’s first arrest on sex abuse allegations.
— ✌🏼rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) September 9, 2019
The Daily Beast reported that Andrew came to rely on Maxwell to introduce him to women when he was in London, while Giuffre said Epstein and Maxwell took her to London in March 2001, introduced her to Andrew and directed her to have sex with him at Maxwell’s Belgravia townhouse. Giuffre said she had sex with Andrew two more times at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion and on his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Andrew has repeatedly denied ever meeting or having sex with Giuffre, most famously in a disastrous BBC interview in November.
During the interview, Andrew insisted he had cut ties with Epstein during a week-long stay at the pedophile’s Manhattan home in 2010. He also offered bizarre and easily contested explanations for why he couldn’t have met have Giuffre. The interview was such a public-relations debacle for the royal family that Andrew agree to step down from his royal duties. In a statement, he expressed sympathy for Epstein’s victims and promised to cooperate with U.S. authorities in their ongoing investigation of Epstein’s operation.
As much as Andrew insisted he cut ties with Epstein, he maintained his friendship with Maxwell and admitted in the BBC interview that he saw her in London in the spring of 2019, just before Epstein was arrested on the new sex trafficking charges, the Guardian reported.
For the past year, former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman repeatedly clashed with Andrew over his claims that he willing to cooperate with U.S. investigators. Berman lost his job earlier this month, a move by Trump’s Justice Department that an attorney for Epstein’s victims found “highly suspect.”
Spencer Kuvin told The Sun that he wondered if Berman was fired for refusing to stop investigating the Duke of York.
The indictment against Maxwell charges her with six counts: enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity, two conspiracy counts related to those charges and two counts of perjury.
The sex-trafficking charges focus on the alleged abuse of three girls, one as young as 14, between 1994 and 1997, at Epstein’s homes in Florida, Manhattan and New Mexico. Maxwell allegedly befriended the girls, took them shopping, expressed interest in their families, and sought to “normalize” the abuses that occurred. The indictment said Maxwell engaged in group sex with Epstein and one of the victims multiple times.
These incidents occurred before Andrew reportedly entered Epstein’s orbit, but the perjury charges against Maxwell stem from statements she made in a deposition for Giuffre’s lawsuit, Courthouse News reported.
Under oath, Maxwell said “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when asked if Epstein had a scheme to recruit underage girls for massages. She was also asked about whether she knew about Epstein engaging in “three-way” sexual activities. She said she was unaware of Epstein having sexual relations with anyone but herself when they were in a relationship.
Cet article est apparu en premier (en Anglais) sur mercurynews.com