court will unwind the agreement between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre | Prince Andrew
A tough week in Prince Andrew’s fight to avoid a public trial over allegations he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein begins on Monday when a New York court unseals a confidential 2009 agreement between Epstein and the alleged victim.
Lawyers for the Duke of York, who “unequivocally denies” Virginia Giuffre’s allegations, believe his deal with Epstein could protect him from his civil lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse in 2001.
Epstein, a former friend of the Duke of York, was convicted of sex offenses in 2008 and committed suicide in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on other sex trafficking charges. His close associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, also a former friend of Prince Andrew, was convicted last week of sex trafficking in federal court in New York and faces up to 65 years in prison.
After the deal is unveiled, Prince Andrew’s attorneys will argue with Judge Lewis A Kaplan, sitting in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in lower Manhattan, that the agreement between Giuffre and Epstein means that she cannot take action against their client.
Lawyers for Giuffre, known as Virginia Roberts when she claims she was introduced to the prince, dismissed attempts to stop the civil case as “just another in a series of tired Prince Andrew attempts to to dodge and evade the legal merits of the case ”.
But Prince Andrew’s lawyers have told the court that Giuffre is pursuing a “baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew for another salary at his expense” and that “sensationalism and innuendo have prevailed over the truth”. They claim his “tarnished reputation” is collateral damage from the Epstein scandal.
At stake is not just Prince Andrew’s future and Giuffre’s pursuit of justice, but the British royal family’s international reputation. Buckingham Palace denied on Sunday that “uninformed speculation” reports courtiers may have to ask Prince Andrew to stop using his title if he loses Giuffre’s lawsuit. He said he would not comment on the ongoing legal issues and also downplayed reports that he should step down from his role as colonel-in-chief of nine military regiments, units and corps.
In other developments, Ghislaine Maxwell’s brother Ian Maxwell, 65, said she has maintained her innocence and has no plans to make a deal with prosecutors to provide evidence against others people involved in his sexual abuse and that of Epstein.
“The prosecution confirmed that no plea bargain offer had been made or received” before the trial, he told The Sunday Times. “I expect this position to be maintained.” He also said his sister was not at risk of suicide as she awaits his conviction.
It also emerged that Giuffre may be allowed to do a victim impact statement upon Maxwell’s conviction. Sigrid McCawley, an attorney for Giuffre, told the Daily Telegraph that she expected the court to hear “many, many other women who could not be heard at the trial.”
And Giuffre’s attorney, David Boies, told the Mail on Sunday that there were “four, five, six witnesses” capable of placing Giuffre with Prince Andrew. The Duke told the BBC in 2019 that he had “no recollection of ever having met this lady, none at all”.
Prince Andrew’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, told the court that Giuffre’s deal with Epstein provided for “a blanket release from all claims against him and many other persons and entities” and that Prince Andrew was “axiomatically part of of freed persons ”.
It was on the basis of the same deal that Giuffre agreed to dismiss a battery complaint against lawyer Alan Dershowitz earlier this year, Brettler said.
He will also argue that the case should be dismissed because Giuffre, an American citizen, no longer lives in the United States.
If the judge orders the case to continue, Prince Andrew could ultimately face a trial involving him making a sworn statement.
Prince Andrew claimed in a Interview BBC Newsnight 2019 that he was in a Pizza Express in Woking on the day in 2001 that Giuffre claims she was with him at Tramp nightclub. He also responded to his claims that he was sweaty at the nightclub by saying that he was unable to sweat at the time due to an “adrenaline overdose during the Falklands War”.
But asked for proof of both things by Giuffre’s legal team, his lawyers have not yet advanced anything, according to court documents.