Trouble for Prince Andrew as Ghislaine Maxwell set to cooperate in sex trafficking investigation following Epstein's death
Ghislaine Maxwell is allegedly ready to face US prosecutors in the ongoing investigation into Prince Andrew's late friend Jeffrey Epstein.
The British socialite, who is the daughter of late publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, is accused of procuring underage girls for her benefactor and erstwhile boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, Richard Pendlebury writes for the Daily Mail.
While Maxwell has always denied misconduct, Epstein's former housekeeper at his Palm Beach, Florida mansion described her as the "madam of the house."
Meanwhile, the billionaire financier's former "sex slave" Virginia Roberts Giuffre claimed in a court document that she was loaned out to Prince Andrew. She also added that Maxwell also took part in the sex sessions.
A source has now told New York Post that Maxwell is already cooperating with federal authorities.
Maxwell is now "target number one" for prosecutors, according to Thomas Volscho, an associate professor of sociology at the City University of New York who is writing a book about the Epstein case.
"They are going to want to hold somebody to account and there is going to be enormous pressure on Maxwell as she has been accused of being heavily involved with Epstein," he said. "I would imagine she is petrified."
According to Pendlebury, the suggestion that the 58-year-old highly connected socialite will assist the US criminal case presents a dramatic twist in a story that further jeopardizes the British royal family’s reputation.
"Good Time Ghislaine", as her friends called her, was first introduced to Prince Andrew by his ex-wife Sarah.
Their blossoming friendship was first reported in a footnote in a newspaper diary column from early 1999.
"Prince Andrew keeps interesting company these days," it read. "He’s just attended a dinner hosted by Ghislaine Maxwell."
Ghislaine and Andrew were spotted sharing several intimate lunch dates together by April 2000.
"They sat hand-in-hand while dining on a lobster salad—she sipped a champagne cocktail—at Nello restaurant on New York’s Madison Avenue," Pendlebury wrote of one such date. "His police bodyguard watched discreetly and fell in step behind Andrew once he had paid the £90 bill in cash. Miss Maxwell left separately in order to avoid the paparazzi."
That said, the pair were not in a romantic relationship, especially since "her role as Prince Andrew's newfound confidante and social fixer was far more important to him."
According to some royal experts, Andrew was in the "throes of a midlife crisis" after turning 40 in the first weeks of the new millennium.
As a divorced teetotaler who was rapidly gaining weight, Andrew did not have many interests beyond his daughters, golf, and watching videos.
Maxwell, whom Pendlebury describes as a "wealthy trans-Atlantic demi-monde", later introduced Andrew to the strange but rather "exciting" world of her boyfriend-cum-patron and father figure Jeffrey Epstein.
"Private jets, VIP nightclubs, and beach resorts were the necessary accouterments for this social whirl," Pendlebury wrote of the multi-millionaire New York financier's lifestyle. "And with them came an endless supply of beautiful young women, often very young."
Now, the prince has landed himself in hot water for his "brief sortie into this environment" to become one of the disgraced characters in a pedophile sex scandal that is sure to haunt him for a long time.
A trove of court documents released Friday, August 9, contained allegations against both Maxwell and Andrew brought forth in a libel case by Virginia Roberts.
In the documents, Roberts claimed the prince slept with her while on a night out with Epstein in London, and that he once fondled an underage girl called Johanna Sjoberg in Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan.
Having said that, thousands of legal documents with sexual allegations against Epstein and his high profile cronies are yet to be released.