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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Lawyer for Epstein victims says more UK women have come forward

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More British women who claim to have been abused by Jeffrey Epstein have come forward as Prince Andrew was accused of playing a ‘cat and mouse game’ with the FBI to avoid being questioned.   

The American lawyer representing 16 of Epstein victims, Gloria Allred, has said the Duke of York must ‘of course’ speak to the US authorities about his friendship with the paedophile.

Ms Allred has suggested that Prince Andrew might want to speak to the FBI last night before his friend Ghislaine Maxwell starts ‘naming names’ after she was arrested last week.

She said: ‘He’s playing a cat and mouse game. Does Prince Andrew want it presented to him on a silver platter with footmen delivering this invitation from the justice department to come and be interviewed?’

She said that more British women had come forward to make claims against Epstein’s estate and said: ‘I have now more victims contacting me in the last few days who have never come forward before.’  

Prince Andrew (pictured during his BBC Newsnight interview last year) is under increasing pressure to give evidence - lawyer Gloria Allred says Andrew wants an invitation 'on a silver platter'

- lawyer Gloria Allred says Andrew wants an invitation 'on a silver platter'

Prince Andrew (pictured during his BBC Newsnight interview last year) is under increasing pressure to give evidence to the FBI about Jeffrey Epstein – lawyer Gloria Allred says Andrew wants an invitation ‘on a silver platter’

Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts, aged 17 at Ghislaine Maxwell's townhouse in London and the Duke of York is in a war of words with the US authorities and the royal insists he is willing to speak to them about Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts, aged 17 at Ghislaine Maxwell’s townhouse in London and the Duke of York is in a war of words with the US authorities and the royal insists he is willing to speak to them about Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell will be 'naming names' and 'fully co-operating' with the FBI and Prince Andrew is among those 'very worried' about what she might reveal, a former associate of Jeffrey Epstein has claimed (Epstein and Maxwell are pictured together in New York in 2005)

Ghislaine Maxwell will be ‘naming names’ and ‘fully co-operating’ with the FBI and Prince Andrew is among those ‘very worried’ about what she might reveal, a former associate of Jeffrey Epstein has claimed (Epstein and Maxwell are pictured together in New York in 2005) 

Pressure is mounting on Prince Andrew to speak to the FBI last night before Maxwell starts ‘naming names’.

How Duke of York’s annual meetings with Epstein including after he was sent to jail caused Prince Andrew decades of trouble 

Here is a timeline of the duke’s relationship with Epstein.

– 1999

Andrew first meets Epstein, reportedly introduced through his friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell.

Andrew welcomes Epstein to the Queen’s private Scottish retreat in Aberdeenshire. Andrew later says he sees Epstein ‘infrequently’, adding ‘probably no more than only once or twice a year’.

– 2000

Andrew and Ms Maxwell are seen on holiday with Epstein at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Epstein and Ms Maxwell attend a party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen to mark Andrew’s 40th birthday, the Princess Royal’s 50th, the Queen Mother’s 100th and Princess Margaret’s 70th.

– 2001

Virginia Roberts claims to have had sex with Andrew ‘three times, including one orgy’, with the first encounter allegedly taking place in Ms Maxwell’s London townhouse. Ms Roberts claims to have had sex with Andrew on two more occasions, at Epstein’s New York home and at an ‘orgy’ on his private island in the Caribbean.

– 2008

Epstein admits prostituting minors and is sentenced to 18 months in prison.

– 2010

Epstein is released from jail. Andrew is photographed with the disgraced Epstein in New York’s Central Park.

Footage emerges years later, reportedly shot on December 6 2010, showing him inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, from where he is seen looking out from a large door of the property waving a woman goodbye after Epstein leaves to get into a chauffeur-driven car.

– 2011

The duke quits his role as UK trade envoy after the fallout from the Central Park photos.

– 2015

Buckingham Palace denies Andrew has committed any impropriety after he is named in US court documents related to Epstein. A woman, later named in reports as Ms Roberts, alleges in papers filed in Florida that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under the age of consent in the state.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Andrew, in his first public engagement since he was embroiled in the allegations, responds, saying: ‘Firstly I think I must, and want, for the record, to refer to the events that have taken place in the last few weeks.

‘I just wish to reiterate, and to reaffirm, the statements that have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace.’

In April the claims against Andrew are struck from US civil court records following a federal judge’s ruling.

– 2019

Newly released legal documents show that Johanna Sjoberg, another alleged Epstein victim, claimed Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside the US billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

Buckingham Palace said the allegations are ‘categorically untrue’.

Epstein is found dead in his jail cell on August 10, having killed himself after being charged with sex trafficking.

Later that month a pilot on Epstein’s private jet claims Andrew was a passenger on past flights with the financier and Ms Roberts.

The Sun newspaper reported that David Rodgers said in a testimony released in August that Epstein, Andrew and the-then 17-year-old travelled to the US Virgin Islands on April 11 2001.

Buckingham Palace describes the evidence statement as having ‘a number of inconsistencies’ and said that Andrew was on a different continent in some cases.

Following Epstein’s death, a statement from the palace says that Andrew is ‘appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes’.

Breaking his silence on the issue for the first time since 2015, Andrew then releases a statement on August 24 saying: ‘At no stage during the limited time I spent with him (Epstein) did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.’ 

On November 16, the prince gave a ‘disastrous’ BBC interview in which he spoke about his friendship with Epstein and addressed allegations of his own sexual conduct.

He faced a barrage of criticism following his television appearance, with the royal accused of a lack of empathy with Epstein’s victims. 

During the interview, Andrew, questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, twice stated his relationship with Epstein, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, had some ‘seriously beneficial outcomes’, giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.

The duke denied he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong as the duke said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.

He cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture that appears to show Andrew with his arm around the waist of Mrs Giuffre, when a teenager.

2020

Ghislaine Maxwell is arrested in New Hampshire as pressure grows on Andrew to speak to the FBI. 

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Ms 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. 

‘If she is interested in a deal then she is going to have to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in everything that she is asked and that would be Prince Andrew, what she saw him do, or observe or knew he did when they were together in reference to Jeffrey Epstein.

‘Prince Andrew, when he was in that house, saw young girls coming and going constantly when he was there.

‘What did he think they were doing there, why were they there, did he speak to them was he involved with them at all or even with adult young women there?’

‘I have now more victims contacting me in the last few days who have never come forward before.’

Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison for child sex charges after officers swooped on her US bolthole on Thursday.

Yesterday one former associate of her late paedophile boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein predicted she would fully co-operate with the authorities in a bid to reduce any future jail time, adding: ‘There’s a lot of people very worried. She knows everything.’ 

And Ms Allred said yesterday: ‘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.’ 

Ghislaine Maxwell sobbed ‘why is this happening, how could this happen?’ when she appeared in court last week, claims Epstein sex abuse victim Virginia Roberts.

Maxwell appeared in court in the US on Thursday accused of helping disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein ‘identify, befriend and groom’ multiple girls, including one as young as 14.  

Due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic reporters could only listen-in to proceedings.

Virginia Roberts, now known by her married name Giuffre, said you could hear a ‘very loud British woman screaming why is this happening, how is this happening ,how could this happen’ in court. 

She said that Maxwell was sobbing on the phone call to the court, reporters who listened in were unable to determine for certain it was her.

Indeed, some reporters said that the British voice that sounded upset was different to Maxwell’s voice when she answered questions and identified herself to the judge on the call. And the voice did not sound like she had been sobbing moments before.

Virginia alleges Prince Andrew had sex with her on three separate occasions, including when she was 17, still a minor under US law.

In an interview with 60 minutes, she said: ‘Prince Andrew should be panicking at the moment because Ghislaine doesn’t really care about anyone else but Ghislaine. I think he would be quite shook up.’

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 10-15 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 in 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.

Appearing in an interview with 60 minutes (pictured) Ms Giuffre said Prince Andrew would be 'panicking'

Appearing in an interview with 60 minutes (pictured) Ms Giuffre said Prince Andrew would be ‘panicking’

Armed officers smashed down the front door of Ghislaine Maxwell¿s secret New Hampshire hideaway before hauling her off in handcuffs

Armed officers smashed down the front door of Ghislaine Maxwell’s secret New Hampshire hideaway before hauling her off in handcuffs

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.

Epstein killed himself last August before facing trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges

Epstein killed himself last August before facing trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges

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 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 same 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 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 an

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