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Friday, 23 October 2020

'Everything Virginia Roberts says is a lie': Prince Andrew repeatedly told Ghislaine Maxwell his sex accuser was untruthful, court documents reveal

 Prince Andrew repeatedly labelled his sex accuser Virginia Roberts 'a liar', claiming 'everything she said is a lie', new court documents revealed last night.

The claim was made by Ghislaine Maxwell, the Duke's longtime friend – now accused of being a madam for billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The exchange was in a previously unknown phone call between the two as scandal swirled around them when Miss Roberts, Epstein's former 'sex slave', made bombshell claims she was forced to sleep with the prince.


It came out in a 465-page deposition that Maxwell, 58, had fought tooth and nail to keep under wraps before a court ordered it be released. 

The names of all of those in Epstein's circle, including Prince Andrew, were redacted but previous accounts given by Epstein victims, plus an index at the back of the papers, allow them to be identified.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attending a movie premiere in New York City in 1995

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attending a movie premiere in New York City in 1995

Maxwell was questioned in 2016 as she defended herself in a defamation claim, having called Miss Roberts a liar. The case was later settled out of court.

Over seven hours, the British socialite was quizzed extensively about her relationship with Epstein, her knowledge of 'sexual trafficking', sex with minors, non-consensual sex and sex involving Miss Roberts.

She was also asked questions about whether she recruited girls for Epstein to have sex with, 'sex toys' and dressing up, explicit images, 'orgies' and nudity at Epstein's homes.

Her lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuca jumped in to object to the questions 435 times, but Maxwell, daughter of disgraced media tycoon Robert, never once asserted her right not to self-incriminate.


Maxwell's most personal account to date is one she hoped would never see the light of day as she sits in prison awaiting trial on child sex trafficking and perjury charges. 

Her lawyers argued releasing it now would condemn her before she goes before a jury next year.

Maxwell insisted she and her friends were innocent of the accusations against them – even as she did her utmost to avoid actually answering the questions of lawyers.

She spent the interview, a sworn testimony, obfuscating, evading and positing outraged denials. As she seeks to defend herself from charges that she was heavily involved in the abuse, the new revelations of her determination to protect Epstein and destroy his main accuser could have a crucial bearing on her forthcoming trial.

THE PHONE CALL 

A phone call between the prince and Maxwell saw them both blast Miss Roberts as a liar, the court papers say. 

It was made after Miss Roberts released a bombshell deposition in 2015 claiming she was forced, as Epstein's 17-year-old 'sex slave', to sleep with Andrew, claims he emphatically denies.

An email chain, uncovered last year, showed the Duke ask Maxwell: 'Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts,' to which he got a reply saying: 'Have some info. Call me when you have a moment.'

Sigrid McCawley, for Miss Roberts, asked Maxwell: 'What did you talk about?' and was told 'Just what a liar she is.'

'What did he [the Duke] say to you?' Maxwell was asked, replying: 'What a liar she is... I don't think he told me why she was a liar. The substance of everything that she said was a lie with regard to him.'

Photograph of Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts at Maxwell's London flat in 2001

Photograph of Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts at Maxwell's London flat in 2001

Mrs McCawley pressed: 'What did you say to him?' to which Maxwell said: 'She is a liar.'

Maxwell branded Miss Roberts a liar 28 times in the interview, also dismissing the now mother-of-three as an 'awful fantasist'.

THAT LONDON PHOTO 

Miss Roberts claims that one of the occasions she was forced to sleep with the Duke was at Maxwell's London townhouse, where a photograph of the beaming prince with his arm around the teenager was taken.

But Maxwell's memory during the deposition often deserted her, to the point she was unable to con-firm that the now infamous picture was taken at her own house.

The setting looked 'familiar', she said, but she did not know who took the picture nor could be sure where. 

She denied the claims that she, Andrew, Epstein and Roberts had spent the night out in London, having dinner before going to a club, saying she 'did not recall' before doubting that 'it actually happened'.

Maxwell insisted in the deposition that Miss Roberts was even lying in recalling how she and the prince had sex in the bath of Maxwell's home. 'The tub is too small for any type of activity whatsoever,' Maxwell said.

THE PUPPET 

Maxwell rejected claims she took part in orgies and – despite claiming to have run Epstein's household – expressed ignorance and disbelief of claims that girls as young as 13 came to his home in Palm Beach, Florida, to give him sexual massages. 

Maxwell insisted she had never seen the financier having sex with anyone and refused to be drawn on his sexual proclivities.

Often petulant and so angry that at one point she pounded her fist on the table, Maxwell was particularly strident and evasive when the questions turned to Prince Andrew, who she said was an old friend.

Maxwell was also asked did [Andrew] 'ever tell you that he had sex with Virginia Roberts?' She replied: 'He did not.'

Insisting that he didn't even know who Miss Roberts was, she added: 'It would be difficult to have sex with someone you don't know.'

Maxwell was also asked about claims Epstein kept a Spitting Image puppet of the Duke at his New York home and Andrew used it to grope a young woman.

She was asked if she put the puppet's hand on the woman's breast while – as the latter alleges – she was sitting on the prince's knee.

'I don't recollect,' Maxwell replied, after arguing over the definition of a puppet. 'I recollect the puppet but I don't recollect anything around the puppet.'

EPSTEIN'S SOUVENIRS

Although Maxwell insisted that Miss Roberts' testimony was a 'tissue of lies' – challenging the lawyers at one point: 'Are we tallying all the lies?' – her memory often failed her on the actual truth of her claims.

Some of Epstein's accusers have said that Maxwell would take photos of them naked or even having sex with the financier, so he could keep them as souvenirs. Maxwell claimed, however, any pictures she took were never 'remotely inappropriate'.

She added: 'I took very few and they were always by request, this was a picture you could... gift to your parent or to your grandparents to put on their mantelpiece.'

Pressed to name just one person she had photographed in either a naked or semi-naked state, she replied: 'I seriously cannot recall.'

LOYAL FRIEND 

Epstein served a brief prison sentence in Florida in 2008 after pleading guilty to procuring an underage girl for prostitution as part of a controversial plea deal.

Maxwell admitted she continued to work for him after he came out of prison, earning less than $500,000 (£382,000) a year. 'There were six homes... I hired all sorts of people,' she said. 'A very small part of my job was from time to time to find adult professional massage therapists for Jeffrey.'

Asked why she stayed with him after he was convicted, she replied: 'I'm a very loyal person and Jeffrey was very good to me when my father passed away.'


Asked if she ever considered herself Epstein's girlfriend, she said: 'That's a tricky question. There were times when I would have liked to think of myself as his girlfriend.'

Maxwell refused to discuss their sex life, declining to comment on whether – as some accusers claim – he liked having his nipples pinched.

DODGING QUESTIONS 

Maxwell, currently in jail in Brooklyn, now faces a far more serious legal challenge. 

She has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom underage girls as young as 14 to engage in illegal sexual acts in the mid-1990s. She also faces two counts of perjury. Miss Roberts says Maxwell recruited her at age 17.

She says Epstein – who committed suicide in jail last year – forced her to have sex with numerous wealthy and influential men, including Prince Andrew. 

The latter, whose name was redacted but who is clearly identifiable, and the other men have denied her allegations.

'I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever,' Maxwell said. The lawyers asked her 23 times whether she 'believed' Epstein sexually abused minors yet she refused to give a direct answer.

'JOURNEY TO JUSTICE' 

Miss Roberts, from her home in Australia, said: 'I'm very grateful for the decision to unseal these depositions. 

This journey to justice has taken decades for my fellow abuse survivors and me, including years in which our voices were ignored. Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein did not act alone.

'With more transparency, I am hopeful that all who helped perpetrate these heinous crimes will be held accountable.'

There was no comment from Prince Andrew last night but Buckingham Palace previously said it is 'emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts'.

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