Ghislaine Maxwell, who faces the rest of her life behind bars if convicted of abusing and procuring young girls for the late billionaire and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein – charges that she denies – goes on trial on 29 November.
Prince Andrew’s name is again set to make the headlines once the trial commences of disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, an alleged “pimp” of the royal’s former close friend – convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, reports The Daily Mail.
A lawyer connected to the case says it’s “inconceivable” that the Duke of York will escape being mentioned as Maxwell enters the dock on 29 November in Manhattan’s US District Court.
“This will thrust Andrew back under the spotlight. It is inconceivable his name won’t be introduced by the women who will testify against Maxwell. He must be dreading it,” a lawyer involved in Maxwell’s case was cited as saying.
The Duke of York’s sex abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts), an alleged Epstein victim, claims she was forced to have sex with the royal on three occasions (the first when she was 17 and under the legal age of consent), and is currently suing him for battery and inflicting emotional distress. Giuffre has reportedly vowed to attend the trial, while Prince Andrew vehemently denies her claims.
The Duke of York’s friendship with Maxwell stretches back decades. In the early 2000s, the prince, who was forced to step away from his royal duties in the wake of fallout from the Epstein scandal, reportedly invited Maxwell and Epstein to a plethora of exclusive royal events, according to The Daily Mail.
In 1999, the pair purportedly spent a weekend at Balmoral, the queen’s holiday estate in Scotland, while the BBC reported that both were invited to a June 2000 Buckingham Palace ball with Queen Elizabeth II. Eight days before Epstein’s initial arrest in 2006 by the Palm Beach Police Department on state felony charges of procuring a minor for prostitution and solicitation of a prostitute, he was photographed with Maxwell and Harvey Weinstein at the 18th birthday party for Andrew’s daughter Beatrice.
When seeking to exonerate himself over ties with Epstein in his “car crash” BBC interview that resulted in his “sacking” from royal duties days later, Andrew stated that Maxwell was the “key element” in his friendship with Epstein from the outset.
In that November 2020 interview, the royal claimed he stayed at Epstein’s home during a trip to New York after the billionaire was convicted of child sex offences because he was “too honourable to end the relationship.”
Maxwell, 59, held on remand in a Brooklyn detention centre since her arrest in July 2020, is facing charges of sex trafficking children, perjury, and the enticement of minors while she was a close associate of the late financier, who died in prison.
Epstein, charged with running a sex trafficking network of minors in 2019, was found dead in his prison cell in New York City on 10 August while awaiting trial. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges, with officials declaring that he had committed suicide by hanging.