In 2009, the royal’s accuser, American Virginia Giuffre, sued financier Jeffrey Epstein and his life companion Ghislaine Maxwell, alleging the couple of sex trafficking her as a minor. Giuffre has also claimed that Prince Andrew sexually abused her at least three times, including when she was an underage girl.
Prince Andrew’s lawyers have asked a New York judge to keep Jeffrey Epstein’s 2009 settlement with Virginia Giuffre sealed. A request to that effect has been filed in a Manhattan court.
Andrew Brettler, who represents the Duke of York, said he is preparing written arguments to ask US District Judge Lewis Kaplan to dismiss the ongoing lawsuit against Prince Andrew, citing the 2009 settlement, which he argues makes Prince Andrew immune from any lawsuits. Brettler asked to redact those portions of his arguments that could reveal information in the settlement.
The lawyer stressed that both Prince Andrew and his accuser Virginia Giuffre want the 2009 deal to remain secret, because it is subject to a protective order from another judge presiding over a federal civil action in New York.
Giuffre’s Connection to Epstein and Accusation Against Prince Andrew
Virginia Giuffre is one of the alleged sex slaves of US financier Jeffrey Epstein who has been accused of sexual abuse and rape by dozens of women. Epstein had many acquaintances in high circles – presidents, entrepreneurs, billionaires, celebrities, royals, including Prince Andrew. Giuffre claims she became acquainted with Epstein at the age of 17 after she was hired as a masseuse by his ex-girlfriend and life companion Ghislaine Maxwell, a well-known UK socialite and daughter of billionaire Robert Maxwell.
However, the job offer turned out to be a ruse and the girl was made a sex slave, who was abused by Epstein and his powerful friends. Her allegations match those of other purported victims of Epstein, who alleged that they were promised a job at the house of a wealthy person, but instead ended up in sexual servitude.
Giuffre claims that when she was still a minor she was trafficked to London by Epstein and Maxwell and was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew. She purports that she met the Duke of York at a nightclub before all four of them headed to Maxwell’s mansion where she slept with the royal.
“Do for him what you do for Epstein”, Giuffre cited Maxwell as saying in one of the lawsuits she filed against the socialite and US financier.
The 38-year-old claims Prince Andrew had sex with her at least two more times without her consent.
Giuffre said she managed to escape Epstein’s sexual servitude during a trip to Thailand in 2002, where she met her future husband.
In 2009, she sued Epstein and Maxwell for sex trafficking. Back then, the case was settled for an undisclosed amount of money. Prince Andrew’s lawyers have argued that the settlement protects the royal “from any and all liability” as it apparently made Epstein, his co-conspirators, and friends immune from further lawsuits.
Mrs Guiffre’s legal team has insisted that the settlement is “irrelevant to the case against Prince Andrew”.
Prince Andrew’s Response to Allegations
Virginia Giuffre came forward with accusations against the royal in the early 2010s. However, the case received widespread attention after Epstein was arrested in 2019 and charged with running a sex trafficking network of minors. The development prompted Prince Andrew to explain his relationship with Epstein as well as publicly address the accusations.
In an interview with the BBC that same year, the Duke of York vehemently denied the allegations against him, saying he has an alibi for the day the purported sexual intercourse occurred in London and said he had no recollection of ever meeting Giuffre.
The veracity of the royal’s statement has been questioned. There is at least one photo showing the Duke of York with Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell with the royal’s hand on the girl’s waist.
One woman claims to have seen Prince Andrew dancing with Giuffre at the nightclub on the day he allegedly slept with her.
When pressed about the photo showing the two together with Prince Andrew’s arm around Mrs Giuffre’s waist, Andrew said: “Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored”.
Mrs Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit against Andrew on 9 August 2021, seeking “accountability” from the Duke of York and demanding compensation for physical and mental damage. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for next week.
Jeffrey Epstein was found hanging in his cell on 10 August 2019 while awaiting trial. His death was ruled a suicide, although some people believe that the financier was murdered by his powerful friends, who may have feared they could be implicated in the scandal. Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested by the FBI in July of 2020 and her trial is scheduled for November.