00:28 GMT04 August 2020
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    The release of court documents comes after the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein’s former lover, socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. The 58-year-old was charged with trafficking underage girls in the 1990s for the now-deceased Epstein to sexually abuse. She is currently awaiting trial in a New York prison.

    Prince Andrew allegedly tried to lobby the US government on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein so that the billionaire could get a “sweetheart plea deal “ for an underage prostitution case in 2008, according to newly-released court documents.

    The documents, released by a New York court on Thursday, relate to a now-settled 2015 defamation case filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who testified under oath, accusing Epstein and Maxwell of sexual abuse. The documents were published after the court rejected an appeal by Maxwell’s lawyers to keep them secret. 

    Giuffre testified in the suit that she - as a 17-year-old - was recruited in 2000 by Maxwell to be a “sexual servant” for Epstein and was also forced to have sex with a number of influential men, including Prince Andrew. Those accused of having had sex with the underage Guiffre have denied their participation. 

    ​Two women, known as Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2, asked for the files to be released, as they claim that Epstein depended on high-profile friends such as Prince Andrew to get him a more lenient sentence from a US attorney in south Florida in 2008.

    Lawyers for the two anonymous Epstein accusers documented in the court papers wrote: “(They are) seeking documents regarding Epstein’s lobbying efforts to persuade the government to give him a favorable plea arrangement, including efforts on his behalf by Prince Andrew and former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz."

    “They have alleged these materials are needed to prove their allegations that, after Epstein signed the non-prosecution agreement his performance was delayed while he used his significant social and political connections to lobby the justice department to obtain a more favorable plea deal.”

    In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl for prostitution as part of a “sweetheart deal” offered by Florida prosecutors. The paedophile served almost 13 months in custody, with extensive work release.

    The Duke of York distanced himself from Epstein following the conviction, although the two were photographed together in New York in 2010. 

    The papers also reveal that the convicted sex offender attempted to gather incriminating material against Prince Andrew by forcing an underage girl to have sex with him.

    This alleged encounter took place on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands. One of the documents claims that a girl referred to as Jane Doe #3 was instructed by Epstein to “give the prince whatever he demanded and report back to him on the details of the sexual abuse”.

    It is unclear from the documents whether Jane Doe #3 is Giuffre.

    Epstein was an American financier, socialite and convicted sex offender who committed suicide in prison in New York last year, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

    Maxwell, a former lover, was arrested on 2 July at her New Hampshire home, on charges of her alleged involvement in trafficking underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse. Through her lawyer she has denied the charges and is currently awaiting trial in a New York prison.

    Tags:
    Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell
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