Newly released documents in a lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein's associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, shed new light on the late accused sex trafficker's friendship with Prince Andrew, including the claim that the British royal worked to help Epstein secure a reduced sentence in a child prostitution case in Florida in 2008.
Andrew's reputation has already been tarnished by his long association with Epstein and by allegations that he had sex multiple times with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of the teenage girls Epstein allegedly pimped out to his powerful friends.
Andrew, who was asked to step down from his royal duties last year, has repeatedly denied having sex with Giuffre, but the new documents appear to challenge his assertion that he wasn't good friends with Epstein and only saw him infrequently through the 2000s before he claims he ended their friendship.
The documents are part of a 2015 defamation lawsuit brought by Giuffre against Maxwell, who was arrested July 2 on federal charges that she helped procure underaged girls for Epstein's sex-trafficking operation. The documents were made public Thursday following a yearslong public records battle in the New York-based 2nd Circuit court, Courthouse News reported.
Two unnamed victims of Epstein, identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, allege in the documents that the late financier relied on help from Andrew and other high-profile friends, including Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, to secure a reduced sentence from the U.S. attorney's office in South Florida, according to summaries of the documents from Courthouse News, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
Epstein was first investigated for sex-trafficking charges in 2005, but managed to win a "sweetheart deal" from the U.S. attorney's office. He was allowed to plead guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution and given an 18-month jail sentence. He was in turn allowed to serve out his time on a work-release program, in which he was able to leave the jail 12 hours a day, six days a week.
The Miami Herald and others, including some of Epstein's victims, had sought release of the documents. Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 alleged in the documents that Queen Elizabeth's son was among the powerful friends Epstein relied on to win special favors from U.S. authorities.
"(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 claim.
"They have alleged these materials are needed to prove their allegations that, after Epstein signed the non-prosecution agreement his performance (sic) was delayed while he used his significant social and political connections to lobby the justice department to obtain a more favorable plea deal," they claim.
The newly released documents include a transcript of a deposition given by Giuffre, in which she also describes Andrew's involvement in Epstein's activities, Courthouse News reported.