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16th Oct 2022

Ghislaine Maxwell claims infamous photo of Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre is fake

Tobi Akingbade

She says there are over 50 ‘issues’ with the image

Disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has given a rare interview from prison, saying she “feels so bad” for Prince Andrew while claiming an infamous image of hims was doctored.

She told how the Duke of York was a “dear friend”, saying she understood why they were no longer in contact.

Maxwell is being held in the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, New York, until a few weeks ago when she was moved to women’s jail the Tallahassee’s Federal Correctional Institute.

Maxwell told the paper she also believes the photo is fake, but Virginia Guiffre, who is also pictured with Prince Andrew’s arm around her, says it is real.

Andrew is in the centre of the photograph, which was taken in March 2001.

It appears to show his hand around the waist of Virginia Roberts, now Giuffre, when she was 17.

Behind the lense of the camera is disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein who is reported to have taken the picture in March 2001.

It was published in the Mail on Sunday on February 27, 2011 and became a symbol of Ms Giuffre’s case that she had been sexually abused by Andrew on three times after being trafficked by Epstein.

Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epsteinfer

In June this year,  Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison after her conviction in December last year.

Speaking from prison, she told the Mail on Sunday : “At this time, I no longer believe that to be a true image, and I don’t believe that it is what it appears to be.”

Her statement contrasts with what most experts and Virginia Giuffre herself says.

Maxwell, however, seems convinced. She added: “There are so many things that are wrong with it. As soon as my appeal is over, I will be very happy to discuss it with you.”

Her conviction that the image is a fake appears to contradict her earlier stance.

In a 2015 email exchange between her and Alan Dershowitz, one of the most high-profile lawyers in the United States, Dershowitz wrote: “Dear G. Do you know whether the photo of Andrew and Virginia is real? You are in the background.”

Just 11 minutes later, Maxwell emailed back her response. “It looks real. I think it is.”

Maxwell now reckons there are more than 50 issues with the photo, according to the report.

Mrs Giuffre said in legal documents for a 2016 defamation case she had given original picture to the FBI in 2011 when they arrived at her house in Australia.

She then added: “So I don’t believe it’s a true picture.”

The original was returned and may now be in storage.

Documents released in the case say two FBI agents collected 20 original photographs from Giuffre, which were are believed to include the one of her with Andrew.

Prince Andrew, who met Maxwell when she was at university, was pictured with her several times in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

But after sex trafficking allegations against her came out – and he himself was implicated – he denied that she was a close friend, and said a notorious photo showing them together was doctored.

Prince Andrew has stepped back from working royal duties over the controversy.

Maxwell told the paper she also believes the photo is fake, but Virginia Guiffre, who is also pictured with Prince Andrew’s arm around her, says it is real.

Ms Guiffre accused the Queen’s son of sexually abusing her three times when she was just 17, and while she was the victim of a trafficking ring orchestrated by billionaire paedophile Jeffry Epstein and his girlfriend Maxwell.

Last year, the Duke of York stepped down from public life following scrutiny over his friendship with the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

He reached a £12 million out-of-court settlement with alleged Giuffre in March. He admitted no admission of liability and continues to strongly deny the claims.

Epstein himself was not able to face trial as he was found dead in his prison cell before he could.

Maxwell insists that she is innocent, saying she has been portrayed as a ‘wicked witch’ but that her ‘greatest mistake’ was simply meeting Epstein.

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