Ghislaine Maxwell was a "victim" of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and will "never say anything" to investigators about Prince Andrew, a friend claims.
Former investment banker Laura Goldman claims the British socialite won't cooperate with the authorities when it comes to questions about the Duke of York in the case surrounding paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
She also claims Maxwell, 58, was always "a little afraid" of her former boyfriend Epstein, and said that in her opinion the socialite thought if she "did one more grooming" he would marry her.
The duke, who is a former friend of Epstein and Maxwell, has been urged to provide information to the investigation by a US attorney.
Andrew, 60, has denied claims by Victoria Giuffre, one of Epstein's accusers, that they had sex on three occasions, including when she was 17.
It comes as Maxwell appeared in court in the US on Thursday accused of helping disgraced financier Epstein "identify, befriend and groom" multiple girls, including one as young as 14.
Ms Goldman, who claims to have known Maxwell since she moved to the US, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday she would "have to" go for a plea deal with prosecutors.
Asked if Maxwell would speak about the duke as part of the investigation, Ms Goldman said: "She has always told me she would never, ever say anything about him.
"I think she felt he was her friend and she was never going to say anything about him.
"She felt in the 90s when her father died that Prince Andrew was there for her."
Ms Goldman said she last spoke to Maxwell "a couple of weeks ago" prior to her arrest by the FBI in sleepy Bradford, New Hampshire on Thursday, adding: "She knew she was coming to the end of the road.
"Initially she felt she was going to be fine because of the immunity provision, but I think in recent months she saw the furor had died.
"When Jeffrey initially died, she was relieved, she thought it was over."
Ms Goldman claimed Maxwell was a "victim" of Epstein and was always "a little afraid" of him.
Voicing her opinion, she said: "I think she thought if she did one more grooming, found him one more girl, he would marry her. Is that okay? No.
"She honestly thought at the end of the day she would be Mrs Jeffrey Epstein and that was the prize she wanted."
Ms Goldman added: "I've told people if she goes to jail, I don't have a problem if she's punished. But I honestly do believe she was a victim of Jeffrey Epstein.
"I never saw him berate her but she was always a little afraid of him. She would say 'I have to go, he's going to yell at me'."
Maxwell, daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell, has previously denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of sexual misconduct by her former boyfriend Epstein.
At a brief hearing on Thursday, a magistrate judge ordered her to remain in custody while she is transferred to New York for a detention hearing.
Four of the six charges cover Maxwell's dealings with Epstein from 1994 to 1997, when she was in an "intimate relationship" with him, according to the indictment.
These include conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
She is further charged with conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Epstein was being held in a New York jail when he killed himself last August before facing trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, told a press conference that authorities would "welcome" a statement from the duke.
But a source close to the duke said he was "bewildered" by claims made by US authorities that he has not offered to co-operate with the Epstein case.
Maxwell, who has known Andrew since university and introduced him to Epstein, features in the background of a picture which shows the duke with his arm around American teenager Ms Giuffre (nee Roberts).
It is said to have been taken inside Maxwell's home in Belgravia, central London, in March 2001.
Ms Giuffre, now 36 and living in Australia, has claimed she was trafficked by Epstein and alleges Andrew had sex with her on three separate occasions between 1999 and 2002, including when she was 17 and still a minor under US law.
Andrew categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.