PRINCE Andrew has been “convinced” not to talk to the FBI about his paedophile pal Jeffrey Epstein on the grounds that it would “do no good” – by Epstein’s missing ‘pimp’ Ghislaine Maxwell and her lawyer.
Ghislaine says she’s “beside herself” over what the Epstein scandal has done to the Duke of York and the royal family.
And she’s revealed to a friend while in hiding that her and the Queen’s favourite son “had a laugh” at Donald Trump agreeing to what he calls his justice department quizzing Prince Andrew – suggesting that the senior royal and the alleged ‘madam’ have remained in touch despite the ongoing furore.
Her comments are likely to heap further torment on the billionaire financier’s victims, including Virginia Roberts who says Prince Andrew is as “guilty as sin”.
Ghislaine’s family friend Laura Goldman told Sun Online: “Ghislaine told me that yes, the lawyers and Ghislaine have finally convinced Andrew that it would do no good for him to talk to the FBI.
“She says that Andrew is very honourable. He wanted to talk to to them because he has nothing to hide.
“But it was Ghislaine who persuaded him that it didn’t matter. The FBI will never be satisfied. Nothing happened. However the FBI doesn’t want to hear that.”
Laura told how Ghislaine – who’s now been in hiding for seven months – says the FBI are ‘destroying a good man’ in Prince Andrew.
She continued: “The FBI has no case, but Ghislaine says that they won’t admit it.
“So instead they’re destroying a good man. She said that she’s beside herself over what this has done to Andrew and his family.
“She said that the attempt to question Prince Andrew is a publicity ploy and reeks of desperation.”
Her comments come after Epstein’s former sex slave Virginia Roberts says Prince Andrew is as “guilty as sin” after he “shut the door” on US prosecutors probing the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein.
Virginia alleges that she was forced to sleep with the Duke three times – claims which the royal has always strongly denied.
But Ghislaine Maxwell showed that she still has what her old pal calls her famous sense of humour as she told Laura how she’d had a laugh with Andrew at US President Donald Trump – for calling the US justice department ‘his’ – as if he owned it personally.
She said: “She told me that they both had a laugh at the thought of Donald Trump agreeing to have ‘his’ justice department question Prince Andrew. With Donald Trump referring to the DOJ and Attorney General as ‘my’.
“So they’re obviously still in touch and still good friends since she’s gone into hiding, despite everything that’s happened.”
But Laura warned anyone against pouring further scorn on her old friend, adding: “I think that all this is still much more complicated than it looks. Nobody here is all good or all bad.
“Ghislaine was a victim of Epstein as much as anyone else was.”
Buckingham Palace has been approached and has declined to comment.
US Attorney Geoffrey Berman says that Prince Andrew is now refusing to cooperate after the Duke of York said last year that he would be “willing to help” investigators probing the crimes of his ex-pal Epstein.
In response, Virginia tweeted: “That was expected – I knew he’d never help with any probe or investigation because he’s guilty as sin.”
Andrew was sacked as a senior royal following his car crash Newsnight interview in which he said he still did not regret his years-long friendship with convicted paedophile Epstein.
The prince also claimed that he had no memory of meeting Virginia despite the pair being photographed together in London in 2001.
Epstein hanged himself last August in a New York jail cell while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges.
Yesterday, Mr Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District New York, said the Duke of York was not cooperating with his probe into the sex offender’s crimes, saying: “Contrary to Prince Andrew’s very public offer to cooperate with our investigation into Epstein’s co-conspirators, an offer that was conveyed through press release, Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation and our office is considering its options.”
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents several Epstein victims, told BBC Radio 4’s Today show earlier that the FBI has “liaisons” in the UK who Andrew could speak to, saying: “The FBI has liaisons in the UK – so it’s very simple. It’s not as if Prince Andrew has to fly to or go to another country, to the United States. He doesn’t have to do that at all.
“He could speak to the FBI in London. He can’t say he doesn’t have relevant evidence because that would not be true.”
Andrew has hired a leading extradition lawyer to fend off the FBI probe into his links with Jeffrey Epstein by taking on Clare Montgomery, whose previous clients include Shrien Dewani — cleared of murdering his bride on honeymoon in South Africa.
The senior barrister, of Matrix Chambers, co-founded by Tony Blair’s wife Cherie, has also represented ex-Chile dictator Augusto Pinochet and Nirav Modi, wanted for India’s biggest fraud.
Sources have confirmed the Duke has regular meetings with his team about the investigation into associates of Epstein.
Prince Andrew, 60 – who returned to royal duties by attending a memorial service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, for senior courtier Sir Malcolm Ross who died last year with Her Majesty’s blessing – denies all allegations of misconduct made against him.
Two months ago Laura told how Ghislaine and the Duke of York have a “mutual protection pact” for each other.