Melissa Cronin believes Prince Andrew’s downfall from grace is only beginning.
The investigative journalist is the executive producer of a podcast titled “Epstein: Devil in the Darkness,” which claims to shed new light on the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell back in August.
The podcast features exclusive interviews with members of Epstein’s inner circle, including his longtime chauffeur, his jail mate – who alleged to have witnessed his first suicide attempt three weeks before his death – as well as a woman who claimed she helped recruit “Epstein’s stable of young massage therapists at his New Mexico compound.”
Cronin has been reporting on the billionaire New York financier since 2014 and was one of the first to uncover new revelations about how he used his connections to “shield his predatory behavior with young girls.”
Jeffrey Epstein on March 28, 2017.
(New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)
While the Duke of York has insisted his friendship with Epstein was far from a close one, Cronin claimed the 59-year-old isn’t being truthful with the press.
“He may not have known at the beginning of their friendship [about Epstein’s perversions],” Cronin told Fox News. “[But] he absolutely continued to have a relationship with Epstein after it was public knowledge that he had these underage women… They were photographed together walking in Central Park after Epstein’s plea deal in Palm Beach, in which he pleaded guilty to procuring with an underage prostitute. He was sentenced to prison for that… After all became public, Prince Andrew was still seen with him in New York walking through Central Park, deep in conversation, like two close friends.”
The British royal recently participated in a tell-all interview with the BBC in which he discussed his controversial relationship with the sex offender and the sexual assault allegations against him.
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” he said in reference to Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre), who alleged that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times between 1999 and 2002 in London and on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean.
“I stayed with him and that’s [something] I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that,” the second son of Queen Elizabeth II said.
Giuffre claimed Epstein paid her to have sex with the British royal and that she was just 17 years old during her first experience.
Cronin alleged that based on her investigation, Giuffre may not have been the only “young woman” from Epstein’s circle that Andrew was involved with.
“We know of at least one other incident where he spent with a young woman who was not Virginia Roberts,” claimed Cronin. “We spoke exclusively with a staffer at the New Mexico property who told us that she personally served Andrew during a three-day visit, in which he was given a young woman as his companion. And, while the staffer that we talked to had seen Virginia Roberts at the ranch before, she said that this woman that spent time with Andrew was not Roberts.”
Prince Andrew (right) is dealing with harsh backlash from critics and media personalities over an interview about his relationship with now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the numerous sexual assault allegations against the British royal.
Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. In August, the palace said in a statement that Andrew was “appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.”
“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent,” the palace said.
The statement was released after the Mail on Sunday newspaper obtained a Dec. 6, 2010 video appearing to show Andrew inside Epstein’s opulent Manhattan home as the prince waved goodbye to a young woman.
The video was recorded two years after Epstein’s controversial plea deal in which he admitted to a Florida state felony charge of prostitution involving a minor. The terms of the deal included generous work release conditions for Epstein.
Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves the headquarters of Crossrail at Canary Wharf on March 7, 2011, in London, England. Prince Andrew is under increasing pressure after a series of damaging revelations about him surfaced, including criticism over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier.
(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
As Cronin shared, Andrew was photographed with Epstein in 2010 in New York’s Central Park after Epstein had finished serving his 18-month prison sentence. The photos sparked controversy at the time and led Andrew to quit his role as a UK trade envoy in 2011, according to Sky News.
In documents released in August, Johanna Sjoberg said she was 21 years old in 2001 when Andrew grabbed her breast at Epstein’s mansion in New York.
Sjoberg testified the incident was sparked when “someone” suggested those gathered take a picture, at which point Sjoberg said she and Ghislaine Maxwell (Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged “madam”) went to a closet and grabbed a puppet of Andrew.
“They told us to go get on the couch,” she said in the 2016 deposition. “And so Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet, the puppet on her lap. And so then I sat on Andrew’s lap, and, I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine.”
She added: “I knew it was Prince Andrew because I knew him as a person.”
Prince Andrew is the third child of Queen Elizabeth II and her second son.
The court papers also include a photograph that has been in circulation since 2015 showing Andrew with his arm around Giuffre’s bare waist in London in 2001. Giuffre said she was 17 at the time the photo was taken.
Cronin said it’s clear Andrew’s relationship with Epstein was much more extensive than he was willing to admit.
“He invited Jeffrey to party at one of Queen Elizabeth’s mansions as [an] honored guest,” Cronin alleged. “He had Jeffrey Epstein visit the Sandringham Estate and go hunting. And, that’s the queen’s country home, so you know, it wasn’t like they just ran into each other at a couple of parties here and there.”
Cronin said she isn’t surprised the palace continues to slam the allegations made against Andrew. She believes they’ll continue to do so as the investigation further unfolds.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II attends the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on Nov. 10, 2019.
(TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
“I think it’s clear from their actions so far that they’ll continue to deny the allegations strenuously,” she explained. “But, there’s still more to be revealed. [Reports suggest] that there’s a lot more information that the world still doesn’t know about Andrew and Epstein, that could be released… There are a lot of possibilities and a lot of questions about what’s to come. It’s hard to say what they would do in the face of additional evidence.”
Still, Cronin said the photograph of Andrew and Epstein walking together in Central Park horrified the royal family.
“… That was just too explosive, too humiliating for even the royal family to kind of brush off,” she said. “It seemed like, at least publicly, their relationship cooled following that embarrassing revelation. We have not found any evidence so far of continued communications between them after that incident. But, as I said, there are so many files that have yet to be leaked, to be released. There’s still a lot of secrets that are uncovered.”
Fox News’ Jessica Napoli contributed to this report.