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ROYAL FRIEND

Prince Andrew lobbied US government for ‘favourable’ Epstein plea deal, court documents claim

PRINCE Andrew lobbied the US government in a bid to strike a "favourable" plea deal for pal Jeffrey Epstein over his 2008 underage prostitution case, legal papers claim.

The allegation is made in startling documents released by a US judge relating to former Epstein "sex slave" Virginia Roberts - also known as Virginia Giuffre.

Prince Andrew has been accused of trying to lobby on behalf of pal Jeffrey Epstein
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Prince Andrew has been accused of trying to lobby on behalf of pal Jeffrey EpsteinCredit: Jae Donnelly

They are part of a 2015 civil lawsuit brought against Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, by Roberts, who claims she was forced by the shamed financier to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was just 17.

The Duke of York. 60, has always vehemently denied the allegations against him.

And a friend of the Duke told the Sun Online: "The US Federal Appeals court said 2019 these allegations should be treated with ‘extreme caution’. 

"Allegations are not the same as facts, which is the essential premise on which justice works.  Let’s see if these allegations stand-up, because precious few about the Duke do – where’s the proof?

“This allegation is a straightforward untruth. No ifs, no buts.”

Two unnamed Epstein victims - named only as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 - allege the American relied on help from the Prince and other powerful pals to sort a reduced sentence from the US Attorney for South Florida.

Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008 as part of a controversial "sweetheart deal" with federal authorities in the sunshine state.

He eventually served just 18 months behind bars and was allowed out on work release six days a week.

The prince see with Virginia Roberts when she was 17 and Ghislaine Maxwell
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The prince see with Virginia Roberts when she was 17 and Ghislaine MaxwellCredit: Rex Features
Roberts holds a photo of herself taken a year after she claims she was first abused by Jeffrey Epstein
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Roberts holds a photo of herself taken a year after she claims she was first abused by Jeffrey EpsteinCredit: Getty - Contributor

The two women were appealing for the release of documents as they believe they prove the royal's links to Epstein, reports the Telegraph.

"(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," state documents.

"They have alleged these materials are needed to prove their allegations that, after Epstein signed the non-prosecution agreement his performance was delayed while he used his significant social and political connections to lobby the justice department to obtain a more favorable plea deal."

During one 2016 interview, Roberts was asked by her lawyers if Prince Andrew would have "relevant information" which could help those probing Epstein's warped world.

"Yes, he would know a lot of the truth," she said of the Duke.

"I don’t know how much he’d be able to help you with, but seeing as he’s in a lot of trouble himself these days I think he might, so I think he might be valuable."

Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008
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Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008Credit: Copyright (c) 2006 Rex Features. No use without permission.
Brit socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in the US earlier this month
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Brit socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in the US earlier this monthCredit: Reuters

Roberts, now 36, claims that she was forced to have sex with Epstein who also made her have sex with a number of his associates.

"Epstein instructed Jane Doe to give Prince Andrew whatever he demanded and required her to report back to him on the details of the sexual abuse," the lawyers said.

"Maxwell facilitated Epstein’s acts of sexual abuse by acting as a madam."

Roberts also revealed the infamous photo of the royal with his arm around her waist was taken by Epstein on her Kodak camera.

She added she passed the picture to the FBI during their investigations in 2011.

Similar allegations against Andrew were ordered by a federal judge to be struck from court records in 2015 after being lodged as part of a lawsuit involving Epstein — but the judge did not rule on the veracity of the claims.

Some of Andrew's supporters have long maintained that the royal had done nothing wrong, and pointed out that just because allegations are including in court papers it does not mean they are true.

US Attorney General Bill Barr said earlier this year that Andrew must speak to the FBI and his team 'definitely' want to interview him.

He said: "The department wants to talk to Prince Andrew. That's why the Southern District has been making efforts to communicate with him. We've made it clear that we'd like to communicate with him."

However, sources close to the Duke of York's legal team say they have contacted Department of Justice representatives in the US on a number of occasions since they were first contacted at the beginning of the year.

The case is separate from the current criminal proceedings against Maxwell, 58, who is accused of procuring girls as young as 14 for Epstein to abuse.

The British socialite has pleaded not guilty and is due to stand trial next July.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex life secrets WILL be made public as judge rules redacted court docs should be unsealed
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