Prince Andrew 'highly likely' to be called to give evidence in Ghislaine Maxwell trial

ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 22:  Royal Ascot Race Meeting Thursday - Ladies Day. Prince Andrew, Duke Of York and Ghislaine Maxwell At Ascot. With them are Edward (far left) and Caroline Stanley (far right), the Earl and Countess of Derby. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Andrew with Ghislaine Maxwell in 2000. (Getty Images)

It is “highly likely” that Prince Andrew will be called to give evidence in a trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, according to a royal author.

Maxwell is due to be formally charged in court in New York on Tuesday with conspiring to entice girls as young as 14 to engage in illegal sex acts with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein from 1994 to 1997.

She is a former girlfriend of Epstein, who died in prison last year as he awaited trial on sex offences.

She is also a friend of the Duke of York’s, who is caught in his own war of words with prosecutors in the US who are investigating the crimes of Epstein.

Maxwell denies wrongdoing, and calls some of the charges against her “absolute rubbish”.

Andrew, who is accused by one of Epstein’s victims of having sex with her when she was trafficked and underage, also denies allegations against him.

Nigel Cawthorne, author of Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace, said he believes it’s “highly likely” Andrew will be called on by US authorities to give evidence in the trial.

Of whether the duke could refuse to give evidence, Cawthorne said: "Refuse, and he can never hold his head up in public again. If he is questioned, it will make his Newsnight interview look like a walk in the park."

File photo dated 02/09/00 Ghislaine Maxwell, with the Duke of York leaves the wedding of a former girlfriend of the Duke, Aurelia Cecil, at the Parish Church of St Michael in Compton Chamberlayne near Salisbury. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is to be charged over her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of girls by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said.
Ghislaine Maxwell with the Duke of York after a wedding in 2000. (PA Images)

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On whether Maxwell has evidence on the duke, he said: "It is possible. We must assume Andrew has done nothing wrong. But if she incriminates him, the authorities would have to act."

The author’s comments come as Maxwell denies being the link between Andrew and Epstein, who were friends for several years.

Andrew has claimed Maxwell introduced the two men, and discussed his relationship with Epstein as him being a “plus one” of her.

But Maxwell’s friend told the Mail On Sunday she was not at the party where Andrew met Epstein.

The friend said they met at party hosted by Lynn Forester de Rothschild, adding: “Lynn introduced Andrew to Epstein. It was all about the money with Andrew and Epstein.”

The Duke of York as he attends The Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at the Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim. (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)
Andrew at the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy in County Antrim. (Getty Images)

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Maxwell’s court hearing on Tuesday will also cover the issue of bail, which prosecutors say she should not get, dubbing her an “extreme risk of flight”.

Her lawyers have argued there’s a risk she will catch coronavirus if she stays in jail. They also say coronavirus restrictions make it harder for her to “meaningfully participate in the preparation of her defence”.

Her bail application also includes a claim she had no contact with Epstein for a decade before his death.

The application proposes she is granted bail on a bond signed by five people and that she surrenders travel documents, agreeing to stay at home in southern New York, seeing only immediate family, friends and counsel.

Andrew has been accused of having sex with Virginia Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, three times, once when she was underage. He denies the claims and said he has offered help to the investigation.

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