• Phoebe Hurst

The Ghislaine Maxwell Trial: What Does this Mean for Prince Andrew?

Background


Back in 2021 Ghislaine Maxwell, the former British socialite, was convicted of child sex trafficking; transporting a minor for criminal sexual activity, and three counts of conspiracy. Her trial was major news, featuring in every magazine, newspaper, radio, and news show across the country. Her name, previously quite unknown to the British public, became the name no one could stop talking about. As commonplace as sliced bread, everyone knew who Ghislaine Maxwell was and her ties to both convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and a certain royal figure: Prince Andrew.


While there are differing accounts of when Maxwell first met Epstein, no one can deny their romantic relationship in the early 90s and her close relationship with Epstein from then on. For more than 25 years, Maxwell and Epstein were closely associated.


A civil law suit, made public early 2015, included a deposition that accused Maxwell of grooming ‘Jane Doe 3’ into providing sexual services for Epstein. It was later revealed, by Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald, that ‘Jane Doe 3’ was Virginia Giuffre (previously Roberts). Giuffre met both Epstein and Maxwell when she was 16 and alleges the pair groomed her for Epstein’s sexual pleasure.


Maxwell has repeatedly denied Giuffre’s claims that she procured her for sexual services, whilst also denying she facilitated Prince Andrew’s alleged acts of sexual abuse. Maxwell went on to call Virginia Giuffre a ‘liar’ which later resulted in her paying millions in a settlement, after Giuffre sued for defamation.


Maxwell has faced persistent allegations since 2015 of sex trafficking underage girls for Epstein and his friends, Prince Andrew included. She was eventually arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire on the 2nd of July 2020 and charged with the following: enticement of minors; sex trafficking of children, and perjury—the act of wilfully making a misrepresentation of the truth under oath.


Prosecutors, led by United States District Attorney Audrey Strauss, charged Maxwell with six federal crimes; the indictment charged that “between 1994 and 1997, [Maxwell] assisted, facilitated, and contributed to the abuse of minor girls.” The indictment also noted that Maxwell was aware that one of the three victims was only 14.


Maxwell was found guilty of five sex trafficking-related charges on the 29th of December 2021. These counts carry a potential of 65 years imprisonment. Maxwell is due to be sentenced on the 28th of June 2022.


The Problem for Prince Andrew


Maxwell’s trial and subsequent conviction has posed a major problem for Prince Andrew. The prince has always adamantly maintained his innocence and attempted to distance himself from the claims of sexual abuse of children. However, Maxwell’s conviction combined with the allegations made by Giuffre have worried Andrew’s lawyers, with mounting fears that Maxwell may ‘name names’ in order to reduce her jail time.


Giuffre has claimed that, in 2001, she was forced to have sex with the prince in London, New York, and the Caribbean, at former financier Jeffrey Epstein’s homes. Giuffre is suing the royal for damages caused by his alleged sexual assault.


Earlier this month, Andrew and Giuffre reached a settlement of allegedly $12 million. This has unsurprisingly raised questions surrounding Andrew’s innocence. It has been suggested that Andrew fears Maxwell’s potential cooperation with investigators, which has led him to attempt to find an agreement with Giuffre out of court and that perhaps Andrew is not as innocent as he maintains.


However, Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies told i News that “there is nothing preventing the allegations against [Prince Andrew] forming part of the evidence” when Giuffre goes to court over a separate defamation case against Epstein’s former defence lawyer.


This investigation and subsequent trial of Ghislaine Maxwell have already cost Andrew his HRH title of Prince, meaning he cannot use it in any official capacity. Giuffre’s continued campaign for justice and reparations has cost Andrew millions already, and has the potential to ultimately land the prince in prison.


Only time will tell whether Maxwell will reveal the names of those involved with this sex trafficking ring, and what will be revealed in Giuffre’s next court case, but either way, it does not look good for Andrew. Even if the royal remains out of prison, and free of any more settlements, this historic case has permanently destroyed Andrew’s reputation, and public faith in the royal figure.


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