The Duke of York’s adviser reached out to an online campaigner who claimed to have evidence the photograph with Virginia Roberts was doctored, it has been reported.
Mark Gallagher, the Duke’s crisis management specialist, is said to have made contact with Molly Skye Brown who publicly alleges that Ms Roberts is not a victim but a “prostitute” who “trafficked” others.
Ms Brown, who has attacked Ms Roberts on social networking site Twitter for a number of months, was said to have first been approached by a close aide of the Duchess of York, Antonia Marshall, who thanked her for her “online support”.
In screenshots of the conversation, which Ms Brown passed to the Mail on Sunday, Ms Marshall is alleged to have offered a meeting with the Duchess in order to gain her support and said she would pass on her greetings to the Queen.
Watch: ‘Prince Andrew should be panicking’ says accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre
The possibility of setting up a fake Twitter account to ensnare the woman they suspect of altering the now infamous picture of the Duke with his arm around Epstein’s sex slave was discussed, it is claimed.
Ms Roberts, who now goes by her married name Giuffre, claims she was trafficked to the UK in 2001 by Epstein and alleged that she was forced to have sex with the Duke on three occasions in 2001 and 2002, when she was 17. She maintains that the photograph was taken in 2001. The Duke denies that he had any sexual relations with her.
Ms Brown, 42, a former teen beauty queen from Florida who says when she was 14 Ghislaine Maxwell tried to recruit her as a masseuse, alleged she passed on “some evidence” that the image was doctored and then passed the exchanges on to the FBI.
Ms Roberts publicly denied Ms Brown’s allegations and said that she “blocked her because of her widespread lies”.
Despite the public disagreement between the two women, Ms Marshall contacted her in the middle of December and even discussed setting up a “spy” Twitter account to ensnare the woman who they allege doctored the photograph.
Ms Brown is reported to have told Mr Gallagher: “As you know this is much bigger and darker than just a photo scandal. Agreed?”
The reply said: “Entirely agreed, Molly. I'd like to talk to you in the round about the important distinction you have drawn between survivors and – in effect – enablers. That gets to the heart of this.”
Ms Brown is said to have described the attempts to contact her as “desperate”.
The Duke's representatives did not respond to a request for comment but a source has claimed that the conversations were “not out of the ordinary” and it went no further than “an initial discussion”.
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