“I don’t think the picture is real. It is a fake.”
Ghislaine Maxwell on THAT photograph and Alan Dershowitz on Prince Andrew's legal U-Turn
It’s going to be a very busy week.
Tomorrow, I am booked to talk to Britain’s Piers Morgan on Talk TV about an exclusive interview with British TV host, Jeremy Kyle, given by Ghislaine Maxwell from jail in Florida as she waits for an appeal.
What’s been reported so far about the interview is that she says that the famous photograph of herself with Prince Andrew and his arm around Virginia Roberts Giuffre, then 17, is, as far as she knows, a fake.
She told Britain’s Daily Mail:
'I have no memory of them meeting. And I don't think that picture is real.
'It is a fake. I don't believe it is real for a second, in fact I am sure it is not.
'There has never been an original, there is no photograph'
OK. So I explained in my Audible Original podcast, Chasing Ghislaine, that that photograph is arguably more responsible than anything else for putting Epstein and later Maxwell behind bars–and for Prince Andrew’s subsequent disgrace. I also know that the photograph’s authenticity has long been a question mark for Maxwell and her siblings. A source close to the Maxwells told me weeks ahead of her trial at the end of 2021 that no one they knew had glimpsed the original.
So, In April, 2021 I asked Dawn Schneider, the spokesperson for David Boies, Giuffre’s attorney, about the whereabouts of the original photograph. She responded on email:
“i just confirmed. Virginia gave the photo to the FBI. it and other docs remain with the FBI.”
At the same time, I asked the editor for the Mail if anyone there had seen the original. Spokesperson Robyn Kelly emailed me:
This one is very straightforward: we did see the original photograph.
We had a photographer present at the interview with Virginia Roberts in Australia. During the interview, Virginia produced an envelope with photographs in it, including the one of her with Prince Andrew. The photographer then took a photograph of the photograph (which we still have), to send to the picture desk.
Since then, however, there appears to have been uncertainty about where that original is now. Last year, after Prince Andrew’s lawyers asked to see it, there was a rash of media reports suggesting that, in fact, the FBI has a mere copy in its files, and that Roberts has “lost” the original. (Today, I reached out to Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, and his spokesperson, Dawn Schneider. And to Prince Andrew’s lawyer. I’ll let you know when/if I hear back).
The reason that photograph matters: Jeffrey Epstein was not a household name in 2011 when that photograph, allegedly taken at Maxwell’s London home in 2001, was first published in the Mail on Sunday. Nor were Ghislaine Maxwell or Virginia Roberts Giuffre. But Prince Andrew definitely was. It was his celebrity that sparked international interest in Giuffre’s claims–and her subsequent civil lawsuits against Epstein and, later, Maxwell and Prince Andrew. The depositions in the civil suits became critical catalysts for the criminal suits subsequently brought by prosecutors against both Epstein and Maxwell. And those, in turn, were the catalyst for Giuffre’s civil suit against Prince Andrew.
Prince Andrew is now reportedly considering trying to roll-back the settlement he made last March with Giuffre after she sued him for sexual abuse. It was a settlement that resulted in him being stripped of his HRH title, military titles, and Royal patronages.
Andrew’s U-turn, according to British newspaper reports, started when Giuffre’s long-time suit against law professor and former Epstein pal, Alan Dershowitz, whom she had claimed abused her several times, was dropped last year. Roberts said she “may have made a mistake” in identifying Dershowitz.
What to make of this?
I asked Alan Dershowitz what he thought. Turns out that one of Prince Andrew’s attorneys, Blair Berk, is a friend and former student of his. Interesting!
And I also turned to David S. Weinstein, the former assistant US attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida to ask about possible risks for Maxwell in speaking to the press.
Listen to both interviews below.