Sunday Express

Legal experts say Maxwell could go free

- From Mike Parker IN LOS ANGELES

GHISLAINE Maxwell could walk free over child sex traffickin­g charges, one of America’s top legal experts warned yesterday.

The case against her is in danger of “falling apart” because most of the evidence falls outside statutes of limitation, says Alan Dershowitz, Professor Emeritus of Law at Harvard University.

And it is possible the friend of Prince Andrew could always strike a plea bargain deal with prosecutor­s, he said.

Maxwell, 58, faces up to 35 years behind bars after FBI agents swooped on her secluded US hideout in New Hampshire last week and charged her with six counts related to recruiting underage girls for her paedophile boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.

Wealthy businessma­n Epstein committed suicide in jail aged 66 last August while awaiting trial on sex traffickin­g charges.

The charges against Maxwell include enticement of minors, sex traffickin­g and perjury but Mr Dershowitz noted that some of the accusation­s are “decades old”. He said: “It is not going to be easy to convict her.”

He also believes Maxwell may avoid standing trial completely if she makes a plea bargain deal with prosecutor­s that would dramatical­ly reduce any sentence

THE QUEEN “made a mistake” in agreeing for Prince Andrew to hold the Newsnight interview about Jeffrey Epstein in Buckingham Palace, a documentar­y claims.

Author and palace insidertom Quinn said in Channel 5’s The Queen: Duty Before Family?: “I certainly heard from people who know her that she had overindulg­ed him, that he had got himself into this terrible situation where he appeared to be the close friend of a convicted sex offender.

“The Queen would have been involved with Andrew’s plan to hold that television interview otherwise there is no way he would have been able to have the interview staged in the Palace.that was where Queen Elizabeth didn’t think first about her duty. She thought, first, ‘This is my son, he knows what he’s doing’. She made a mistake.”

Royal author Penny Junor said: “The following day the Queen was riding withandrew inwindsor Great Park.that said it all. He had been a liability but he was still her son.” ● The Queen: Duty Before Family? C5, Saturday, 9pm

in return for informatio­n about “co-conspirato­rs”.

“We don’t yet know what position she’ll take, whether or not she’ll try to make an agreement,” said Mr Dershowitz.

His comments came as officials prepared to move Maxwell to New York. Last night, author and former New York prosecutor Gregg Jarrett said: “Maxwell has said she won’t fight extraditio­n from New Hampshire. Her almost certain destinatio­n will be the Metropolit­an Correction­al Centre in Manhattan – where Epstein died – and where she will have to be watched 24 hours a day.”

He added: “I would say the principal task of law enforcemen­t

on the case right now is making sure she stays alive. She can implicate a great many people.”

The Epstein saga has also seen claims against Prince Andrew. Virginia Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, alleges she had sex with the Prince in London in March 2001. Giuffre was 17 and said she was a “teenage sex slave” for financier Epstein.

Andrew and his legal team have vehemently denied her allegation­s. Maxwell has also previously denied any wrongdoing.

Yesterday Laura Goldman, a close friend of Maxwell, said she is fiercely loyal to Prince Andrew.

Ms Goldman said: “Ghislaine has always told me she would never say anything about him. I think she felt he was her friend.”

She said that being Epstein’s wife “was the prize” for Maxwell.

The former investment banker said: “I think she thought if she did one more grooming, found him one more girl, he would marry her... that was the prize she wanted.”

Maxwell was a “victim” of Epstein and was always “a little afraid” of him, her friend claimed.

She said: “I’ve told people if she goes to jail, I don’t have a problem if she’s punished. But I honestly do believe she was a victim of Jeffrey Epstein.

“I never saw him berate her but she was always a little afraid of him. She would say ‘I have to go, he’s going to yell at me’.”

Ms Goldman said she last spoke to Maxwell “a couple of weeks ago”, adding that she “knew she was coming to the end of the road”.

Ms Goldman said: “Initially she felt she was going to be fine because of the immunity provision. When Jeffrey died, she was relieved, she thought it was over.”

Last night a US lawyer urged British victims of Epstein to come forward. Jordana Feldman, a lawyer for the Epstein Victims’ Compensati­on Programme, said: “We believe there are victims yet to come forward around the world, including in the UK.”

 ??  ?? OLD FRIENDS: Maxwell with Epstein in 2005
OLD FRIENDS: Maxwell with Epstein in 2005

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