Accused of sexual assault by the American Virginia Giuffre, Prince Andrew has – for the moment – not been tried. Her lawyers are hoping to take advantage of a financial deal struck between the plaintiff and criminal Jeffrey Epstein.
The latter had committed suicide in 2019 before the opening of his trial. He had used his fame and his money to set up sex trafficking in teenage girls, which included Virginia Giuffre. He would have signed an agreement with her in 2009 committing him never to sue him or “other potential defendants”. The girl had received 500,000 euros in exchange.
Lawyers for Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre are meeting this January 4 with the judge of the Manhattan Federal Court. The stake is to determine if the second son of Elizabeth II is one of the “potential defendants”. Virginia Giuffre maintains that it was “given” to her by Jeffrey Epstein in 2001, when she was 17 years old. He allegedly abused her on three occasions in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands, in the residences of Epstein and his partner and accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell. “Ghislaine told me that I had to do for Andrew what I was doing for Jeffrey, and that made me sick,” Virginia Giuffre, now 38, testified on the BBC. “I didn’t expect that from royalty.”
The victim has filed a civil complaint and is awaiting financial compensation. For six months, Prince Andrew’s lawyers have been trying to have this complaint dismissed. They now hope that the pact will work in their favor. But this one does not quote the name of the prince: the lawyers of Virginia Giuffre thus estimate that it does not “cover” it.
Prince Andrew denies
Prince Andrew categorically denies the facts. He even claimed to not remember Virginia Giuffre, as a photo shows him hugging her around the waist, with Ghislaine Maxwell in the background. His justifications to the BBC in 2019 had been deemed disastrous by observers. Prince Andrew had expressed no regret for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, and no empathy for his victims. After this fiasco, he retired from public life. He could be tried between September and December 2022 if the complaint is not dismissed.
Beyond Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein also dated former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. The latter also supported Ghislaine Maxwell before she was tried. She has since been convicted of sex crimes by the New York court. No date has been set for sentencing, but she faces decades in prison.