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Newsweek reports that a Prince Andrew biographer suspects President Donald J. Trump may be “indicating” that he plans to pardon Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite now accused of being an accomplice to Jeffery Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring.

  • On July 21, a reporter asked Trump about Maxwell. He raised eyebrows by responding, “I just wish her well” and noted that he had met her “numerous times” when they both lived in Florida.
  • Nigel Cawthorne, author of Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace, hypothesized that “Trump may be indicating that he would look favorably on her if she keeps quiet.”
  • Maxwell has so far pleaded not guilty to a 17-page indictment and is being held without bail on the grounds that she is a flight risk.
  • She faces allegations that she contributed to Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring by grooming young girls on his behalf in the 1990s.
  • Andrew has not been arrested but stands accused of having sex with Virginia Giuffre when she was seventeen years old and was a trafficking victim. Andrew has denied the allegations and offered to give a statement to the United States Department of Justice.
  • Some are speculating that Maxwell may negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors by offering the names of the trafficking ring’s patrons. This was the question a reporter posed to Trump, and the reporter mentioned Andrew’s name as an example of the “powerful men” Maxwell might implicate.

Trump answered,

I don't know, I haven't really been following it too much. I just wish her well frankly. I have met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is.

Cawthorne, the biographer, said that this reaction was unusual given that Trump has previously distanced himself from acquaintances’ criminal controversies.

It’s a bit puzzling. Donald Trump has a long history of distancing himself from friends in trouble. Prince Andrew can attest to that as only in December Trump said, ‘I don't know him, no.’ You'd think he would try and distance himself from Ghislaine Maxwell too after she was charged.

Cawthorne also posited that Trump may be trying to suggest that Maxwell keep quiet, rather than negotiate a plea deal, in exchange for his pardon. He said,

Trump may be indicating that he would look favorably on her if she keeps quiet. He has the power to pardon her if she is found guilty or pleads guilty. It certainly increases the intrigue around this case. Until yesterday it still looked as if by and large the Attorney General was taking a personal interest in seeing the case through for the victims. It now looks as if there is another tug of war between US prosecutors in Manhattan and Washington D.C.

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