The revelation that Ghislaine Maxwell will “never sell out” the Duke of York comes from a controversial confidante who has known the Maxwells for years.
United by their Jewish families’ links to the Holocaust, Laura Goldman remains determined to defend her friend against what she describes as the “the bloodlust of the mob and the criminal justice system against her”.
Sensationally revealing that Ms Maxwell had a “fling” with the now 60-year-old royal, Ms Goldman claimed the socialite “doesn’t see any reason to speak about him to the authorities”, adding that Ms Maxwell found the Queen’s son “kind of stupid and naive”.
“If there were girls in the house while he was there, he would have thought they were servants,” Ms Goldman said from her home in Philadelphia. “All these people thinking he is evil are just wrong. He is just the kind of entitled person who sees everyone as a servant.”
Ms Goldman suggested Ms Maxwell would be more likely to discuss Epstein’s dealings with former US President Bill Clinton and his successor Donald Trump. No allegations have been made about either man.
Despite having previously been criticised for acting as a “mouthpiece” for Ms Maxwell, Ms Goldman insists the well-connected Oxford graduate was also “victimised” by predatory billionaire Epstein.
“Ghislaine is the least confident British person I know. She’s very nervous. Look at photographs and she’s always off to one side.
“We’d meet at New York parties and she’d say she hadn’t done anything all day. She didn’t work. She would say to me sometimes, what will I tell people I do? Her whole identity had been based on being Robert Maxwell’s daughter.”
Ms Goldman, in her early 60s, has her own colourful history, having been sentenced to five years of high-restrictive probation in 2011 after pleading guilty to harassing her former client, private equity billionaire Thomas H Lee.
Having worked on Wall Street for investment bank Merryll Lynch in the 1990s, Ms Goldman claims to have witnessed first hand some of the “deviant” behaviour of the super-rich.
“I’m not saying this to defend anything that happened, but I’m just saying that times were very different then,” she said.
Claiming Ms Maxwell was “controlled by Epstein”, who paid for her New York townhouse less than 10 blocks from his Upper East side mansion, Ms Goldman said news of his suicide in his prison cell last August had prompted Miss Maxwell to tell her: “I’m free.”
“He gave her nothing that he couldn’t control. He was an incredibly manipulative man,” she said. “I’d be out with her and Jeffrey would call and say he was sick and suddenly she would run and get him chicken soup and then come back. She was also victimised.”
Describing how Ms Maxwell thought she would marry Epstein, she added: “She thought they were going to have a relationship that transcended all the tawdriness, that they would become some sort of super couple.”
Admitting Ms Maxwell had “kinky” tastes and could be “libertine”, she added: “Her father cheated on her mother for a million years – she didn’t see cheating or the other girls as anything. She was crazy in love with him. She thought as he got older he would tire of younger girls.”
Ms Goldman revealed that Ms Maxwell used to describe the disgraced financier as a “bounty hunter”. Epstein “stole millions” from some of his wealthiest clients by gaining power of attorney over their accounts, she claimed, adding: “He was like Jude Law in that film Repo Men – he stole an enormous amount of money from people – but when you’ve got several billion, what’s £10 million?
“For some reason these people felt they needed him. I think that he knew how to hold people’s hands well. Rich people are the loneliest people you’ll ever meet.”
Ms Goldman claimed Ms Maxwell followed the coverage of the case “every day” in the run-up to Thursday’s arrest, despite seemingly eluding the authorities for months.
She said her friend did spend some time in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, where she had a boyfriend, and that the last public photograph of her at a burger bar in Los Angeles was faked to distract from him.
“She doesn’t even eat fast food, although she is eating more than she used to,” she added. “She was always trying to be skinny but now she comfort eats.”
Ms Goldman questioned whether Ms Maxwell now “has the money to properly defend herself”, saying it had been too dangerous for her to see her family.
“She accepted that this was going to happen,” she added. “I think she started to give up and become self-destructive. She is going to need a very, very good lawyer.”