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Partying with a paedophile; WORLD PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: ANDREW'S SOCIAL CIRCLE; Epstein in the background before his conviction.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE BY MARTIN FRICKER in West Palm Beach, Florida

EXCLUSIVE BY MARTIN FRICKER in West Palm Beach, Florida AT first glance it looks like any other highsociety photo - the future President and First Lady of America alongside the Queen's second son.

But lurking in the background, looking directly at the camera, is now-notorious paedophile and pal of Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, alleged by the billionaire's young victims to have been complicit in their abuse, is also pictured.

The never-before seen photo sheds further light on the Duke of York's then friendship with the disgraced financier.

Epstein was 66 when he was found dead in his jail cell this month while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.

His lawyers have speculated he may have been murdered to silence him.

The picture also shows the global scale of the widening scandal that now embroils a number of the world's most powerful and wealthy men.

Prince Andrew's presence will increase intrigue as he continues to reel from sex abuse allegations revealed in court documents.

It is the first time the Duke, Epstein and Maxwell have been captured in the same frame.

The image, printed by the Daily Mirror for the first time, was taken at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2000.

The area has some of the world's most expensive properties, with Tiger Woods and Bill Gates among famous names who own homes there.

Andrew was guest of honour at the gala, hosted by Trump eight years before Epstein's conviction for child sex offences.

It took place just months before Andrew's accuser, Virginia Roberts, began working at the club as a changing room assistant.

Within a year of the snap being taken she alleges disgraced Epstein had lent her out to sleep with the prince.

The duke strenuously denies the allegation, which was thrown out by a judge in Florida as "immaterial and impertinent".

In the photo, Trump and his future wife, Melania Knauss, are looking directly into the snapper's lens.

Andrew, wearing a grey suit, appears distracted as he looks offcamera.

Grinning British socialite Maxwell, 57, leans in to speak to a woman, while Epstein, in a blazer and blue jeans, looms in the back- EYES UP Prince Andrew with ground. In another snap Andrew and Epstein laugh with politician Gwendolyn Beck. Roberts says that she was approached by Maxwell about her giving massages to men after starting work at the club.

She claimed she later had sex with now Trump Andrew on three occasions in London, Palm Beach and the US Virgin Islands.

Following a New York court hearing earlier this week, she said of the prince: "He knows what he's done. I hope he comes clean about it."

Meanwhile, lawyers for Ms Roberts threatened to launch a civil case against the duke, claiming he must have known about Epstein's lifestyle.

Andrew has consistently denied all of her claims and last weekend expressed "tremendous sympathy" for Epstein's victims.

Yesterday it was claimed the FBI will examine a photo of him with his arm around Roberts after pals of his claimed it was a fake.

Agents are believed to have seized the original from Ms Roberts, along with 19 other images in 2011. The photo is now thought to be part of the probe into Epstein's alleged co-conspirators.

They are also said to be checking computers, seized from Epstein's Caribbean island, which may contain emails between him and the duke.

A friend of Andrew said last night he would "welcome" a forensic examination of the photo.

In a statement released by Buckingham Palace last Saturday the prince said it was a "mistake" to continue to see Epstein after his 2008 conviction for procuring teenagers for prostitution. He said: "I met Mr Epstein in 1999. During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than once or twice a year.

"I have stayed in a number of his residences.

At no stage during the limited time I spent with

CAPTION(S):

THE PARTY ANIMALS From left to right, Donald Trump, Melania Knauss, Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein, unknown woman, and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell

and blue jeans, EYES UP Prince Andrew with Melania Knauss, now Trump

CHAT Epstein and Donald Trump in conversation

SOCIAL CIRCLE Andrew, Epstein pal Gwendolyn Beck and Epstein at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club, Florida
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Aug 30, 2019
Words:727
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