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Prince Andrew told to ‘be a man’ and talk to police about Jeffrey Epstein after Ghislaine Maxwell charged

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A lawyer for some of the alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein has called on the Duke of York to “be a man” and speak to US prosecutors about his friendship with the financier.

Spencer Coogan said his clients were “relieved” that Ghislaine Maxwell, who had introduced her friend Prince Andrew to her former partner Epstein, had been arrested on charges of facilitating Epstein’s sexual exploitation of underage girls .

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I certainly think Prince Andrew has a story to tell. On behalf of the victims be have continuously asked him to step forward, step up, be a man and tell us what he knows.

“He has been hiding behind not only the royal family but his attorneys.”

He added: “Regardless of his position we, on behalf of the victims, hope that he will step forward and speak up about what he witnessed, at the very least when he was visiting the (Epstein) mansion in New York, when he visited the home in Palm Beach and when we know he was down visiting the Virgin Islands’ mansion.”

Jeffrey Epstein with Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Getty Images)

Andrew has categorically denied any wrongdoing and is said to be “bewildered” by claims made by US authorities that he has not offered to co-operate with the Epstein case.

As she announced the charges against Maxwell, Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, told a press conference that authorities would “welcome” a statement from the duke in relation to the investigation.

Maxwell, who has known Andrew since university, features in the background of a picture which apparently shows the duke with his arm around one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts.

Meanwhile, US lawyer Gloria Allred has claimed Andrew is subjecting victims of Epstein to a “torture test” by not speaking out about “what he knows”.

Ms Allred, who represents some of the victims, said Andrew is “avoiding and evading” US law authorities by not providing a statement.

Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell (AP)

She told ITV1’s Good Morning Britain: “The question is, Prince Andrew when is he going to tell what he knows?

“He needs to do that. He needs to do it without delay. It is so traumatising and difficult for the victims not to know the truth.

“And this kind of torture test that Prince Andrew is subjecting the victims to, like will he or won’t he give a statement, if he will, when?

“More excuses, more delays, it really is painful for many of the victims. It’s just not fair.”

Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire on Thursday , accused of helping the disgraced financier “identify, befriend and groom” multiple girls, including one as young as 14.

Prince Andrew (DPA/AFP via Getty Images)

At a brief hearing the same day, a magistrate judge ordered Maxwell to remain in custody while she is transferred to New York for a detention hearing there.

Maxwell, daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell, has previously denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of sexual misconduct by Epstein. The disgraced financier took his own life in prison last year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Ms Strauss claimed that the socialite had helped Epstein to exploit underage girls and “in some cases” would participate in the abuse herself.

“Maxwell was among Epstein’s closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old,” she told reporters.“Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse.”

Four of the six charges cover Maxwell’s dealings with Epstein from 1994 to 1997, when she was in an “intimate relationship” with him, according to the indictment.

Epstein died in prison last year (AP)

These include conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.

She is further charged with conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

According to the indictment, three unnamed minors were allegedly “induced and enticed” by Maxwell, who “facilitated” for them to be groomed by Epstein at properties he owned.

These include residences in New York City, Palm Beach in Florida and Santa Fe in New Mexico, as well as Maxwell’s personal residence in London, prosecutors allege.

The court papers claim that Maxwell “developed a rapport” with the alleged victims, before encouraging them to give massages to Epstein, which often resulted in him sexually abusing the girls.

One of the girls was allegedly groomed and abused in London between 1994 and 1995, with prosecutors claiming this included a period of time when Maxwell knew she was under the age of 18.

Authorities claim that Maxwell, who is also charged with two counts of perjury, lied when being questioned under oath in 2016.

“Maxwell lied because the truth as alleged was almost unspeakable, Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then delivered them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them,” Ms Strauss told reporters.

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