Prince Andrew, 60, withdrew from his royal role last November after giving a TV interview about his controversial friendship with convicted sex off
Prince Andrew, 60, withdrew from his royal role last November after giving a TV interview about his controversial friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The disgraced billionaire was found dead in a New York jail cell last August where he was awaiting trial for child sex trafficking charges.
Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, is a close friend of the Duke of York’s and is understood to be who first introduced him to Epstein.
Ms Maxwell was arrested at her New England home on July 2 and appeared in court in New York via video link on Tuesday where she denied all charges against her.
The indictment says Ms Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18”.
Prosecutors allege that between 1994 and 1997, Ms Maxwell helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14.
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The FBI is not investigating Prince Andrew in relation to criminal charges but is seeking his help in giving information about Epstein.
According to one royal expert, Ms Maxwell’s bail hearing in New York puts added pressure on the Duke to “get the interview with the FBI out of the way.”
Nigel Cawthorne, author of Prince Andrew, Epstein and the Palace told Express.co.uk: “The developments in New York considerably increase the pressure on Prince Andrew to get the interview with the FBI out of the way.
“The sooner he does, the more convincing his testimony will come across.”
Ms Maxwell’s not guilty please comes after a leading extradition lawyer said it was very unlikely the Americans would back down on wanting Prince Andrew to talk in person.
Karen Todner said: “My experience of the Americans in judicial proceedings is that they feel they police the world and that what they say goes, and you’ve got to have a fairly compelling reason for what they want, not to happen.”
Prince Andrew has always denied witnesses anything improper during his time with Epstein.