GHISLAINE MAXWELL FOUND GUILTY IN SEX ABUSE TRIAL British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on five counts in her trial for luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by the American millionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell faces years in prison — an outcome long sought by women who spent years fighting in civil courts to hold her accountable for her role in recruiting and grooming Epstein‘s victims. [AP]
The investigation shows that in 2000, Pope John Paul II knew that accusations against McCarrick had been made to the Holy See. According to anonymous letters, the American cardinal was guilty of, eg, the sexual abuse of underage family members. Investigators also found that the Vatican received additional information on previous allegations in April 2005, shortly after Pope Benedict XVI took office.
McCarrick was instructed to remain somewhat in the background, according to the report. Benedict thought no further steps were necessary.
Deprived of priestly status
McCarrick retired in 2006. In 2018, Pope Francis stripped him of priestly status for sexual abuse. American bishops and other representatives of the Vatican have also been guilty of ignoring or downplaying reports of McCarrick sexual abuse, the investigation shows.
Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein’s relationship has been exposed in a new book. John Iadarola and Jayar Jackson break it down on The Damage Report.
“President Trump referred repeatedly during an “Axios on HBO” interview to Jeffrey Epstein’s death in prison custody, citing it when asked about his prior comments wishing Ghislaine Maxwell good luck in the criminal justice system. Why it matters: Maxwell has been charged with multiple counts of allegedly helping Epstein sexually abuse minor girls. She was arrested in New Hampshire in early July. * Epstein took his own life while in law enforcement custody last August. The cause of death was suicide by hanging, per official autopsy results.
“Her friend or boyfriend was either killed or committed suicide in jail,” Trump told Axios’ Jonathan Swan in the “Axios on HBO” interview last week. * “She’s now in jail. Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well. I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty.” * “Her boyfriend died in jail and people are still trying to figure out how did it happen. Was it suicide? Was he killed?””
More than 600 pages of newly unsealed court documents were released late Thursday night, containing new details about Ghislaine Maxwell’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. They come weeks after she pleaded “not guilty” to being part of his alleged sex trafficking ring. Mola Lenghi reports.
Jeffrey Epstein’s confidante Ghislaine Maxwell relocated to federal jail in New York City
8 July 2020
Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime partner of convicted sex offender and wealthy New Yorker Jeffrey Epstein, has been relocated to a federal jail in Brooklyn where she will appear via remote video before a Manhattan judge on July 14.
Federal Bureau of Prison officials disclosed on Monday that Maxwell was transferred from Merrimack County Jail in New Hampshire to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn but did not say on what day she was relocated. Prosecutors have indicated that Maxwell is a flight risk and any request for bail will be denied.
On July 2, US Department of Justice officials announced that Maxwell had been arrested and charged on four counts of enticing minors to engage in illegal sexual activity and two counts of perjury, in connection with her role in grooming girls as young as 14 for abuse by Epstein and to be trafficked in his international sex ring during the 1990s.
Last year, Jeffrey Epstein was awaiting trial on multiple counts of sex trafficking and abuse of minors when he was found dead in his jail cell in the Manhattan Correction Center on August 10. Although the New York City medical examiner determined that Epstein committed suicide by hanging, the circumstances at the prison indicated and the opinion of other medical experts was that he had been strangled to death.
Although authorities, including Attorney General William Barr, claimed at the time that a vigorous investigation of Epstein’s sexual abuse of young girls would be continued, it took nearly eleven months for Maxwell to be arrested
One of the reasons given for the delay was that authorities were uncertain where Maxwell was or if she was even in the United States. However, more than twenty armed agents and police reportedly raided her million-dollar mansion called Tucked Away on a 156-acre property in rural Bradford, New Hampshire on July 2, breaking down the front door and bringing Maxwell out in handcuffs.
According to the unsealed indictment, between 1994 and 1997, Maxwell and Epstein, “enticed and caused minor victims to travel to Epstein’s residences in different states, which Maxwell knew and intended would result in their grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse. Moreover, in an effort to conceal her crimes, Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minors described herein, when providing testimony under oath in 2016.”
Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, is the youngest daughter of the British media baron Robert Maxwell, who owned the Mirror Group Newspapers before he drowned under suspicious circumstances near his yacht called Lady Ghislaine in the North Atlantic off the coast of the Canary Islands in 1991.
Shortly after Robert’s death, Ghislaine moved to New York City and met the investment advisor, multimillionaire and well-connected socialite Jeffrey Epstein with whom she developed a close relationship.
Over the next two decades, Maxwell and Epstein—with her connections to European royalty and wealthy elite and with his connections to US celebrities and the financial and political elite—established a social network through lavish parties and get-togethers at Epstein’s residences in Palm Beach, Manhattan, New Mexico and his private island in the US Virgin Islands that involved sex with young girls.
A measure of the connections that Epstein had was revealed on Tuesday when the New York State Department of Financial Services announced that Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $150 million in fines to settle allegations that it “inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions,” despite knowing Epstein’s “terrible criminal history.”
According to a report in the Washington Post, “The German bank’s ties to Epstein began in 2013, years after the billionaire pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges in Florida, according to the consent decree filed by the New York regulator. Deutsche Bank knew about Epstein’s past, classifying him as a ‘high-risk’ client, but also considered the relationship potentially lucrative—$100 million to $300 million in revenue over time.”
In 2014, the report says, bank officials met with Epstein at his New York City mansion after reports emerged about his activities. “The bank ultimately decided to continue doing business with Epstein but established new safeguards, which were largely ignored, according to the consent decree.” The bank processed more than $7 million in settlement payments that Epstein made to alleged coconspirators.
Clearly, the role of Deutsche Bank is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corporate, financial and government participation in facilitating and covering up Epstein’s criminal activities. In 2008, after dozens of young girls had given statements to Palm Beach law enforcement officials that Epstein had both sexually abused them and also paid them to help recruit a network of teenagers for his trafficking operation, the federal government intervened and blocked the local case from going forward.
At that time, US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alex Acosta, worked out a plea deal with Epstein’s legal team that included a “non-prosecution agreement” stipulating that Epstein and none of his coconspirators could be charged in the future for any crimes related to his guilt in “procuring a minor for prostitution.” Ghislaine Maxwell was named as one of his coconspirators in that agreement.
in a federal detention centre in New York last August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell has been accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges.
Many of these accusations did not so far, indeed. However, he was convicted in 2008, though his punishment then was basically a slap on the wrist.
FOX NEWS EDITS TRUMP OUT OF EPSTEIN PHOTOFox News on Sunday repeatedly featured a well-known photo of convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein posing with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago — but Trump was edited out of the image. However, Trump’s then-future wife, Melania Knauss, was not cropped from the photo. The segment focused on longtime Epstein associate and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell — also in the photo — who allegedly recruited and groomed teenage sex victims for Epstein. [HuffPost]
So, Bernie Sanders is still a candidate for the Democratic party primary elections in many states. Which may give Sanders supporters the chance to influence the Democratic party election platform. However, not in New York State, where the party establishment has purged Sanders from the ballot papers. Leaving Joe Biden as only candidate on those papers.
“A NEW PIECE of evidence has emerged buttressing the credibility of Tara Reade’s claim that she told her mother about allegations of sexual harassment and assault related to her former boss, then-Sen. Joe Biden. Biden, through a spokesperson, has denied the allegations. Reade has claimed to various media outlets, including The Intercept, that she told her mother, a close friend, and her brother about both the harassment and, to varying degrees of detail, the assault at the time. Her brother, Collin Moulton, and her friend, who has asked to remain anonymous, both confirmed that they heard about the allegations from Reade at the time. Reade’s mother died in 2016, but both her brother and friend also confirmed Reade had told her mother, and that her mother, a longtime feminist and activist, urged her to go to the police.
In interviews with The Intercept, Reade also mentioned that her mother had made a phone call to “Larry King Live” on CNN, during which she made reference to her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill. Reade told The Intercept that her mother called in asking for advice after Reade, then in her 20s, left Biden’s office. “I remember it being an anonymous call and her saying my daughter was sexually harassed and retaliated against and fired, where can she go for help? I was mortified,” Reade told me.”
The Biden Trap. As the candidate faces credible assault allegations, his progressive female colleagues are being offered a poisoned chalice
27 April 2020
In the world of political reporting on the presidential race, two seemingly divergent stories are taking shape and blowing up, respectively. And it’s the stuff of feminist nightmares.
The first is about the “veepstakes”: Because the world is topsy-turvy and former vice-president Joe Biden cleared the Democratic field in March, we’re in an earlier-than-usual frenzy of speculation about who his running mate will be. Biden, who has long been dogged by criticism on feminist grounds (stemming from his history of bad stances on abortion, his having permitted the ill-treatment of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings, and allegations that he has spent a career touching women in ways that have made them feel uncomfortable), has promised that his running mate will be a woman. (Will she be short or tall, big or small, black or white, left or center? Who is to say, really. She will be A Woman™.)
Meanwhile, Biden’s shaky past behavior around women and their bodies isn’t staying in his past, despite his having worked to overcome it via passage of the Violence Against Woman Act, improving his views on abortion and the Hyde Amendment, sort of apologizing to Hill, and promising to pick A Woman vice-president and appoint A Black Woman to the Supreme Court.
Last year, A Woman named Tara Reade, who worked in Biden’s office in 1992 and 1993, was one of several to allege that Biden had touched her neck and shoulders in ways that were unwelcome; in Reade’s case, while she was in his employ. This March, Reade went further and claimed that Biden in fact digitally penetrated her against her will and that when she complained to his staff, she was retaliated against professionally — claims that Biden and his former staffers have denied but that investigative reporters have been working to shed new light on. Over this weekend, audio emerged of Reade’s late mother, whom she says she told about the assault, calling in to Larry King’s television show in 1993 to complain about how her daughter had a problem with a prominent politician’s staff but was rebuffed when she complained, strongly corroborating the claim that Reade expressed dissatisfaction and suffered professional consequences, an allegation supported by the New York Times, which reported that two former interns recalled Reade abruptly ceasing to supervise them. On Monday, Lynda LaCasse, Reade’s former neighbor and a Biden supporter, told Rich McHugh, Ronan Farrow’s former producer, that Reade had confided to her in detail about having been assaulted by Biden, while another former colleague confirmed to McHugh that Reade had told her she’d complained of harassment and been fired by a prominent politician. Such strong pieces of corroboration should surely imperil Biden’s position at the top of the ticket, though it remains to be seen whether — in the midst of the COVID crisis … — there is any chance that they will.
And part of what’s sickeningly clear is that if Biden remains the Democratic nominee, whichever woman gets the nod to be his running mate will wind up drinking from a poisoned chalice. Because the promise to choose a woman ensures that whoever she is, she will be forced to answer — over and over again — for Biden’s treatment of other women, including the serious allegations of assault leveled by Tara Reade.
This double bind was already apparent this weekend, in advance of McHugh’s reporting, when New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez confirmed once again that she would vote for Biden despite their sharp political differences. Ocasio-Cortez, who is progressive on many issues, has a long history of righteous fury at the ubiquity and impact of sexual harassment and assault. Back in 2018, she said that assault is “one of the most serious allegations anyone who cares to be a public servant can be accused of. Sexual assault is about the abuse of power. It is always women who are marginalized. It is the interns. It is the immigrants. It is the trans. They are always most at risk, because society listens to them the least.”
Ocasio-Cortez was also among the first politicians to suggest that Reade’s claims were “legitimate to talk about” and deserved further investigation, for which Reade thanked her on Twitter. But since Ocasio-Cortez has indicated that she intends to vote for Biden, Reade has told the conservative website the Daily Caller how disappointed she is that AOC has chosen to “toe the line”, and on Sunday she tweeted, “Those who remain silent are complicit to rape” and tagged Stacey Abrams, Kamala Harris, … Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, and Ocasio-Cortez; it was retweeted 6,000 times.
One of the grim ironies here is that it’s some of these people who have worked most fiercely to keep Biden from becoming the nominee. But now that he is the presumptive choice, he may in fact be the only presidential bulwark against Donald Trump, who is both murderous and incompetent and whose reelection would lead to further cataclysmic collapse of our environment, health-care system, courts, and democracy, with fatal results that will redound more negatively to women than to men and most negatively of all to women with the fewest resources. In the fight to prevent this, Biden and his campaign will be calling on women — especially the women who have challenged him in the past, including on feminist grounds — to help him build support by rallying other women around him. That rallying will now have to entail somehow papering over the disgust and dismay provoked by multiple allegations of inappropriate touching and alleged assault made against yet another would-be president.
What a grievous mess. Biden’s critics on the left should be hoping for the selection of a powerful progressive to run alongside him, and perhaps succeed him, whenever that might be. But any politician who might fulfill those requirements — whether your fantasies run toward Warren or Abrams or Barbara Lee or Ayanna Pressley (AOC is too young) — will also, tautologically, be a politician who has taken an aggressive stand against sexual harassment and assault. So on the one hand, these are women who left-leaning feminists should hope Biden picks. They are women who themselves might for extremely good ideological reasons want to lead the country and see Biden’s vice-presidency as an opportunity to make his administration, and thus the country, better. Some, especially Abrams, have been very vocal about their desire for this job, which is itself a radical approach to voicing ambition.
Yet in putting themselves forward as subsidiaries to Biden, in accepting an invitation that he might extend, or even in voicing their support for his campaign, these women wind up imperiling themselves by getting tied to him and the mess of his historical shortcomings, often on exactly the issues that have driven them into politics. In fact, they are quite likely to have their own history of righteous advocacy held up against them, used to make them look like hypocrites for agreeing to be on a ticket with a man who has been credibly accused of behavior they have aggressively condemned, and as sops to a system that they are in fact working hard to change. (These kinds of turnarounds have been made by former male rivals all the time, and, in fact, Bernie Sanders has come in for some criticism for having endorsed Biden after Reade’s allegations were made public; but we have a higher tolerance for inconvenient hypocrisy when it comes from male politicians, likely because we have centuries of experience with it and, in this case, because the contested ground — the unequal distribution of power along gendered lines — isn’t at the very heart of the matter.)
But is the only alternative to hope that Biden picks a milquetoast woman who has never distinguished herself as a feminist or progressive advocate and who, therefore, dispiritingly, cannot be called out for hypocrisy? This is indeed one of my fears, as Reade’s story gets firmer corroboration and the Biden campaign and its supporters in the Democratic Party begin to grapple with its seriousness: Will it alter the calculus around his vice-presidential pick, leading him to pick A Woman whom he can count on to diminish Reade’s claims? Is the cost of a nominee who is a disappointment to many feminists on the left a running mate (and thus likely presidential successor) who is just as disappointing? Even those women will still be asked about Reade — Amy Klobuchar and Gretchen Whitmer, both reportedly on his shortlist, have already been asked about it — and any willingness to defend him or shield him from this story will leave them vulnerable to being held responsible for the misdeeds of the mediocre man to whom they will now be publicly bound.
This kind of chilling calculus, even before the Reade allegations, led many Biden critics (including me) to hope that he did not become the nominee from the start. The damage often inflicted by sexual power abuses extend far beyond those who have been abused to others who are reliant on those accused of abuse — whether as employees, dependent economically; family members, dependent emotionally and economically; or voters, dependent politically. One of the hallmarks of systemic gender inequity is that women wind up paying for the misdeeds of the more powerful men to whom they are subsidiary, a setup that reinforces men’s ability to perpetuate and profit from abuse.
Democratic women got a taste of this when Al Franken was accused of harassment. While he denied the allegations and asked for an investigation, his female colleagues were asked repeatedly by those on both sides of the aisle to condemn him or be understood as hypocrites — willing only to come out against those accused of harassment if they belong to the opposition party. Democratic women — including possible Biden VP picks Harris and, eventually, Franken’s close friend Warren — wound up asking that the Minnesota senator resign. .., Recently, when [Senator] Gillibrand endorsed Biden and called him a “champion for women”, she was criticized for it. That criticism may have been fair, but it is also an illustration of the grim tax women are expected to pay, always in reaction to the more powerful men whose authority they don’t get to challenge without being pilloried for it, but that they always must carefully reflect and correctly comment on.
And make no mistake, if Biden loses, regardless of his running mate, even as feminists are being criticized for hypocrisy in not condemning him more swiftly, it will also be feminists and women who are blamed for his loss, for encouraging an environment in which claims of sexual harm are taken seriously enough to damage a politician.
Especially in light of McHugh’s recent persuasive reporting on Reade’s assault claim, Democrats and feminists are in a terrible bind, and that includes those of us who never thought Biden should be the nominee. Because as of now he is the nominee. And he needs a running mate, and I don’t think hoping he picks a dud is a great strategy for expanding progressive power within his administration, even if there are reasonable doubts about how much influence a progressive vice-president might have within his administration.
The fact should be that it is better to have the right voice at Biden’s side than no voice there at all. But if we get that progressive voice, she will immediately be damaged via her association with the nominee. Alas, we do not have a system or culture in the United States that would permit a running mate to say, “I am deeply troubled by the allegations persuasively leveled against my running mate, Joe Biden, and wish we didn’t live in a world in which we had to choose between an accused rapist and self-confessed pussy grabber versus an accused harasser who’s now been credibly accused of assault, but this is what white capitalist patriarchy does and I’m actually here to try to change that!”
We should have a way to say those things. If part of the work of this election is pushing for a politics that is more just, we should be insisting on freedom for women — including those who will be asked to support Joe Biden, within his party and as his running mate — to fully express themselves about the gendered and political realities in front of us. Reade’s former neighbor Lynda LaCasse offered a model of this herself, noting that she’s a strong Biden supporter and will vote for him, but that she “still [had] to come out and say this … I would want somebody to stand up for me. It takes a lot of guts to do what [Reade] is doing.”
But it’s near impossible to imagine prominent Democratic women being able to give voice to this and still wind up with any sway within a potential Biden administration. So as we move closer to the abyss, remember that plenty of Women never wanted to be here, and now that we are, have no good choices in front of us.
POTENTIAL BIDEN VP CANDIDATES SILENT ON TARA READE ALLEGATION An allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, gained new credibility with a report that a former neighbor of accuser Tara Reade said that Reade confided in her about the alleged 1993 assault in 1995 or 1996. HuffPost contacted nine people on Biden’s rumored vice president shortlist. Only Stacey Abrams responded. [HuffPost]
ME TOO FOUNDER: BIDEN CAN BE ACCOUNTABLE AND ELECTABLE The founder of the Me Too movement explained what she believes is an “inconvenient truth” about the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. Tarana Burke, who founded Me Too in 2007, said former congressional aide Tara Reade’s accusations against Biden are being felt differently because of the 2020 election, which will feature two men in powerful positions who have been accused of sexual assault. [HuffPost]
DOCUMENTS THAT COULD SHED LIGHT ON BIDEN ALLEGATION REMAIN LOCKED UP Tara Reade, says she filed a written complaint about Biden with a Senate personnel office, but does not have a copy herself. If a copy exists, one place where it might be found is in Biden’s Senate files. But those documents are slated to remain locked up until long after the 2020 election. Biden donated his senatorial papers, which cover the period from 1973 to 2009, to the University of Delaware in 2011. [HuffPost]
BIDEN STAYS SILENT Joe Biden, who championed women’s rights during his time in the Senate and the vice president’s office, has remained silent as a sexual assault allegation against him gains more traction. His campaign has put out a statement denying the accusation by Tara Reade, a former Senate aide, but Biden himself has not said anything. And in his absence, other Democrats ― particularly female activists and politicians ― have had to weigh in and decide whether to defend him. The New York Times, meanwhile, has refuted the Biden team’s reported talking points. [HuffPost]
DON’T EXPECT TO SEE JOE BIDEN’S PAPERS Somewhere, there may be documents that shed light on allegations of sexual harassment and assault leveled by former aide Tara Reade against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. But if they exist, it will be difficult to unearth them. Biden has told the press to request documentation from the National Archives of a formal complaint she says she made at the time. But the National Archives doesn’t keep Senate personnel records, and the Senate itself refuses to give up its HR documents for 50 years after severance. Meanwhile, most voters say sexual assault shouldn’t disqualify a presidential candidate. [HuffPost]
BIDEN LIMITS ACCESS TO WALL STREET FUNDRAISER Joe Biden’s campaign removed the press from a fundraising call with Wall Street donors on Thursday shortly before the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee began taking questions from those on the line. It was the first time Biden has limited media access to a virtual high-dollar fundraiser, Bloomberg News noted, and it drew criticism from reporters who said it went against his pledge of transparency. The event was hosted by the heads of three investment banking firms: Evercore, Centerview Partners and Insight Partners. [HuffPost]
JUST when we thought Prince Andrew had run out of lies, we hear that despite assurances that he would be happy to give an interview to criminal investigation authorities on his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the FBI tells us that Andrew has given them “zero co-operation” following requests for an interview about his close friendship with the convicted paedophile.
Prince Andrew has been keeping his head down generally. Just to be clear, that isn’t the same thing as his favourite face-down massage. Some 230 charities and universities of which he was patron or similar have sacked him or hinted they want nothing more to do with him. His mother — the Queen — it seems is pleased about this. She hopes it may protect the monarchy from further embarrassment and humiliation.
Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, with whom he still lives, are a bit disappointed. Many of the charities provided the prince, or both of them, with all-expenses paid visits to many exotic locations at home and abroad. Also each organisation held a formal royal lunch or dinner each year — providing two-thirds of the couple’s annual nosh.
The pair will get no more free tickets to the English National Ballet and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, both of which had him as patron.
It seems even the Queen pulled the plug on a planned 60th birthday party for Andrew in February. Despite Andrew being her favourite child the big palace bash was downsized to a discrete family gathering.
The prince appears to be trying to hang on to his role with what was called “Pitch@Palace” a scheme for young entrepreneurs rather like Dragons Den with Prince Andy as chief dragon.
In the real TV show the dragons use their own money — but Andy is smarter, or greedier than that. He got high-profile business sponsors like Barclays, the accountancy firm KPMG, the Standard Chartered Bank and the telecoms company Inmarsat to put up the cash.
Happily, all of them have now pulled out over the prince’s recent behaviour.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying: “The duke will continue to work on what has been renamed ‘Pitch’ and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties and outside of Buckingham Palace. We recognise there will be a period of time while this transition takes place.”
Meanwhile Parliament has launched an investigation into the way the scheme was run as a private company.
Another charity initiative set up by the prince to help young women trafficked for sex in India has been embroiled in allegations of mistreatment.
Andrew started “Key to Freedom” in May 2012, soon after he was pictured walking with Epstein in Central Park, New York, following the paedophile billionaire’s release from prison.
He claimed his new charity would financially empower vulnerable young women in India by selling their handmade fashion items in Britain through retailers including Topshop and the Buckingham Palace website.
However, the initiative soon fell into financial decline and is now largely inactive, despite being highlighted by the prince and his family as a success story throughout the scandal of his association with Epstein.
In fact, exactly when the prince’s team was setting up the Key to Freedom project, its partner charity in India, the Women’s Interlink Foundation (WIF), which manages care homes for vulnerable children and young women, was being investigated by the Indian authorities.
Ten girls aged between 12 and 15 had run away from one of the WIF’s two homes for trafficked and orphaned girls alleging that they were beaten by staff and generally mistreated.
WIF admits it did not tell the prince about the investigation, which it says cleared the care home. But it refused to publish the official police report or its own internal report. WIF’s founder Aloka Mitra dismissed the young women’s complaints, stating: “Some of them said we did not get the correct kind of chapatis.”
Clearly, Prince Andrew and his team failed to conduct due diligence on his partner charity – as indeed they did with Key to Freedom that also faces criticism that it gave false hope of financial security to the women making the hand-printed silk scarves, which were sold online at the Royal Collection shop.
The duke’s website also claims the initiative has “changed the fate of more than 100 vulnerable young women” and is still active. But WIF confirms no scarves have been available to buy through retailers for more than 18 months and only tiny orders for tote bags were placed.
These tote bags were given as gifts to guests at Andrew’s daughter Princess Eugenie’s wedding last year. The young women who made them in India got just £1.50 per bag. One guest at the wedding was Sarajit Mitra, head of the Indian charity — I hope he was served the right kind of chapati.
Mitra, WIF’s chief operating officer and son of the founder, has said that orders from Topshop declined after 2013 and stopped abruptly in June 2018 without any explanation from the prince or his team, which he described as “rude”.
Despite this, in late August a royal source close to the prince said he was particularly dismayed that his efforts to help victims of sex trafficking were being overlooked while his connections with Epstein once again hit headlines.
Mitra also said the women earned on average up to £150 per year — equivalent to 41p a day. WIF took 40 per cent of the price of any scarves they made.
The money from sales is put into accounts for the workers, but it cannot be accessed without permission from Mitra. Reportedly the women cannot leave the barbed wire compound without guards who accompany them to shops to buy essential items that are not covered by the money the state pays to WIF.
Mitra was given copies of letters written by girls who had lived in the home where they expressed their unhappiness. One letter alleges girls in the home are badly treated and “when the children want to complain, then they are told off and are asked to be quiet about it.”
The British High Commission in India was responsible for introducing the duke to WIF. One key member of the Prince’s team Amanda Thirsk, his private secretary, was at the centre of the Key to Freedom project.
Thirsk was the one who advised the prince to take part in his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview. She no longer works for him.
Andy’s ex-wife Ferguson came up with the Key to Freedom name and Andrew’s charitable trust donated £10,000 seed capital. The initiative launched formally in 2013, with an order from Sir Philip Green’s Topshop.
Just like his refusal to talk about his relationship with Epstein, Andy is also saying nothing about these Indian charities and nor is Topshop, which was involved with the Key to Freedom project at the same time that top boss Green was himself facing allegations of sexual and racial harassment of staff.
Andy and Fergie’s latest scam is to get you and I — the taxpayer — to pay for his other daughter Beatrice’s upcoming wedding just as we did for his daughter Eugenie’s three-and-a-half million pound bash.
Most amazing is that Andrew, disgraced cheat and scam artist, remains the eighth in line to the throne.
Lisa Bloom, the unnamed woman’s lawyer, told a press conference in New York on Wednesday that the woman’s memories of the night in March 2001 were crystal clear. The woman came forwards in December, after Prince Andrew denied on Newsnight ever being at Tramp with Miss Roberts, insisting that he was instead at a Pizza Express in Woking with Princess Beatrice.
These include allegations that Mr Epstein forced Virginia Giuffre, who was then 17, to have sex with the prince.
The allegations prompted a televised interview between the prince and Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, which was received so poorly he formally stepped back from his public duties as a member of the royal family.
Earlier this week, messages that Prince Andrew had sent to a friend in 2001 were unearthed in which the prince appears to doubt his alleged victim’s integrity, calling her a “very sick girl.”
Mr Anderson said: “When you look at his behaviour — it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to mark his birthday.”
Labour councillor Roz Gladden added: “I’m not anti-royal, but this man has yet to prove his innocence in regard to his alleged abuse of young women.”
PRINCE ANDREW LET WOMEN SIT ON PALACE THRONE Prince Andrew reportedly had a “signature move” when it came to pursuing women. Two anonymous sources told The Daily Beast that the Duke of York let women sit on the thrones in the Throne Room in Buckingham Palace, including the one reserved for his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. He also let at least one woman wave from the balcony at the palace, something the royal family occasionally does during special events. [HuffPost]
PRINCE ANDREW ‘SHUT THE DOOR’ ON EPSTEIN PROBE Britain’s Prince Andrew has reportedly declined to cooperate with a U.S. investigation into possible co-conspirators of Jeffrey Epstein. “Contrary to Prince Andrew’s very public offer to cooperate with our investigation into Epstein’s co-conspirators, an offer that was conveyed via press release, Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said. [Reuters]