Ghislaine Maxwell will "never" offer any information about the Duke of York as part of a plea deal, one of her closest confidantes has revealed.
As a new photograph on Friday night emerged of the socialite sitting in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace, Laura Goldman, who has been friends with Maxwell for several years, told The Telegraph she would "never sell out" Prince Andrew, the Telegraph UK reports.
The extraordinary image, showing the 58-year-old lounging on a throne alongside the Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey, emerged after she was arrested on sex-trafficking charges linked to Jeffrey Epstein on Thursday. It is believed to have been taken in 2002 – three years before the police began investigating the late financier for child-sex crimes.
It is thought Maxwell's arrest could have significant implications for the Duke, 60, who was reportedly introduced to the billionaire paedophile by her in 1999.
In an exclusive interview, former New York stockbroker Goldman sensationally claims that Maxwell had a "fling" with the Queen's son, with whom she has remained close friends, last meeting at Buckingham Palace in July 2019.
"The only way she can walk is if she gives someone up, but that definitely won't be Andrew," said Goldman.
"She is so appreciative that when she first came to New York, the Duke helped to launch her into high society. She always talks about what a true friend he is. She doesn't see any reason to speak about him to the authorities."
Goldman suggested that the Duke's "sense of entitlement" may have blinded him to what was going on inside Epstein's depraved world.
She said: "Ghislaine's always told me that Andrew's kind of stupid and naive and if there were girls in the house while he was there, he would have thought they were servants. "All these people thinking he is evil are just wrong. He is just the kind of entitled person who sees everyone as a servant."
Goldman suggested that Maxwell is more likely to talk about former US president Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump, who were among the disgraced businessman's high-profile associates. No allegations have been made about either man.
Maxwell was discovered in Bradford, a small town in New Hampshire, and charged with helping to entice underage girls to travel for sex and lying to investigators. It is not known how she will plead.
It is understood she has been moved from Bradford, Pennsylvania, where she was arrested after evading investigators for a year, to a New York prison before a court appearance next week.
The youngest daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell is central to allegations made by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked from the US to London and was forced to sleep with the Duke when she was 17.
The Duke himself has always strongly denied the claims, maintaining that he has no recollection of meeting Giuffre.
She alleges she was introduced to the Duke in s Maxwell's London home in March 2001, with a now-infamous photograph of the Duke with his arm around the younger woman said to have been taken at the residence.
Maxwell is accused of lying about Epstein's sexual activities, including the recruitment of underage girls for sexual massages, and his use of sex toys. The perjury allegations are the only charges brought against Maxwell to date that relate to a period of time when the Duke knew Epstein.
The more serious offences of child sex trafficking and grooming are alleged to have taken place between 1994 and 1997, two years before the Duke was introduced to Epstein.
US prosecutors said they would "welcome" the Duke's testimony as part of the ongoing FBI investigation.
His lawyers claim they twice contacted the US Department of Justice in the past month but received no response. On Friday, the Duke's legal problems mounted after a new lawsuit from one of Epstein's alleged victims was filed on Thursday.
The civil claim is being brought by Caroline Kaufman, now 26, who alleges that she was sexually abused by Epstein in 2010 when she was 17 at the financier's New York mansion. She claims that she was raped while the Duke of York was visiting. Kaufman said she was invited to the house for a "modelling interview", according to the claim seen by The Daily Telegraph that was filed at the Manhattan Federal Court against Epstein's US$630 million estate.
Prince Andrew was pictured leaving the Upper East Side townhouse in 2010, two years after Epstein was convicted by a Florida state court of procuring an underage girl for prostitution. The Duke claimed he had travelled to the US to cut ties with Epstein, who committed suicide last year in a new York cell while facing fresh charges.
The lawsuit does not accuse the Duke of wrongdoing or of being aware of the alleged attack. He has previously said of Epstein, who died in prison last year: "At no stage during the limited time I spent with (Epstein) did I see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction."
Audrey Strauss, acting US Attorney for the Southern District for New York, has urged the Duke to come forward to be questioned.
Since the arrest of Maxwell, the Duke has not yet seen the Queen, who remains in isolation at Windsor Castle.