Jeffrey Epstein’s secret settlement with accuser Virginia Giuffre was unsealed Monday in New York amid Prince Andrew’s claims the 2009 deal puts him off limits for Giuffre’s lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted her when she was 17 years old.
The private pact reveals Epstein paid Giuffre $500,000 to resolve her claims that the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender, who died in federal custody in 2019, sexually abused her as a teen. It included an ironclad confidentiality agreement, a clause stating Giuffre was obliged to pay her outstanding medical bills and verbiage stating the deal “shall not be construed to be an admission of liability or fault by any party.”
Giuffre’s original lawsuit against Epstein, which she filed as Jane Doe No. 102 in May 2009, included claims Epstein began sexually abusing her when she was 15, coerced her into prostitution as a minor, and trafficked her among his peers, “including royalty.”
Prince Andrew’s lawyers pushed for the Monday unsealing to bolster their claims that the settlement included a release agreement prohibiting Giuffre from suing the Duke of York. Giuffre’s lawyers scoff at that assessment.
According to the settlement, the parties agreed that the deal would “forever discharge” Epstein and his agents along with any other “potential defendant” in the matter from future lawsuits. But Giuffre’s lawyers claim the release can’t be used by Prince Andrew now that she’s suing him for sexual assault and battery in federal court in Manhattan, because the claims in her 2009 suit related to defendants involved in her alleged trafficking, not the “male peers” to whom she was trafficked. Her lawyers also argue that the federal court in Florida, where Epstein-Giuffre settlement deal was struck, would not have recognized personal jurisdiction over Prince Andrew, because she made no allegation that the Duke of York abused her in the state and he did not live there.
“Unlike New York or the U.S. Virgin Islands, there is no claim that Prince Andrew abused Ms. Giuffre in Florida,” her lawyers wrote in a Nov. 29 filing opposing Prince Andrew’s attempts to dismiss the case.
“On its face, it bars Giuffre’s claims against him,” Prince Andrew’s lawyers responded in a Dec. 13 court filing. “The release agreement, by its plain terms, embodies the parties’ intent to benefit directly and substantially a class of persons of which Prince Andrew is a member.”
Previously known as Virginia Roberts, Giuffre sued Prince Andrew in August with claims the third child of Queen Elizabeth II forced her into sex acts in New York, London, and the U.S. Virgin Islands knowing she was a minor trafficked by Epstein.
Giuffre, 38, says she was a teenager working at a spa inside Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club when she was lured into Epstein’s web by Ghislaine Maxwell, the former British socialite convicted Dec. 29 of recruiting and grooming victims for Epstein. According Giuffre, Prince Andrew molested her at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion when she was 17 years old, raped her at Maxwell’s London home, and forced her into unwanted sex acts on Epstein’s private island known as Little St. James. Her paperwork includes the infamous photo showing the senior member of the royal family with his arm around her waist as Maxwell smiles in the background.
In a 2019 interview with the BBC’s Newsnight, Prince Andrew said he had “no recollection of ever meeting” Giuffre. He denied being at a dance club with her and dismissed her memory of him sweating, claiming he suffered an “overdose of adrenaline” during the Falklands War that left him unable to perspire. He then suggested the photo might be “faked.”
“I have absolutely no memory of that photograph ever being taken,” he said. “From the investigations we’ve done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph.”
He denies any wrongdoing in the civil case and has not been charged with any crimes.
One piece of alleged evidence that could loom large in the Manhattan civil case is an alleged email Prince Andrew purportedly sent to Maxwell shortly after Giuffre first went public with her claims against him in December 2014. “Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts,” the prince allegedly wrote to Maxwell, according to Giuffre’s court filings. “Prince Andrew did not express surprise, and he did not ask Maxwell who the woman accusing him of sexual abuse was,” Giuffre’s lawyers allege.
Giuffre claims, and Prince Andrew has confirmed, that the Duke of York was close enough to Maxwell and Epstein that he hosted the duo for separate gatherings at Windsor Castle and the royal family’s Sandringham country estate.
“In 2006, only one month after Epstein was charged with procuring a minor for prostitution in Florida, Prince Andrew invited Epstein to his daughter’s 18th birthday party, unconcerned by the public revelation of Epstein’s sex trafficking and abuse of underage girls,” Giuffre’s filings allege.
In his poorly received sit-down interview with the BBC, Prince Andrew said he first met Epstein in 1999 through Maxwell. He claimed he only invited the pair to Sandrigham for a “shooting weekend,” not Maxwell’s birthday party, as Giuffre alleges, and that he hosted Epstein at Windsor Castle for Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday because Epstein was Maxwell’s guest. Prince Andrew then confirmed he stayed at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion for several days in December 2010, just a few months after Epstein finished serving jail time in Florida for procuring a minor for prostitution.
“Why were you staying with a convicted sex offender?” the BBC’s Emily Maitlis asked.
“I went there with the sole purpose of saying to him that because he had been convicted, it was inappropriate for us to be seen together,” Prince Andrew replied. “I took the judgment call that because this was serious, and I felt that doing over the telephone was the chicken’s way of doing it, I had to go and see him and talk to him.”
He claimed that was the conversation they were having when he was photographed walking with Epstein in Central Park in December 2010. He then confirmed the visit involved a dinner party at Epstein’s mansion with “eight or 10 of us.”
“At the end of the day, with the benefit of all the hindsight that one could have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do. But at the time, I felt that it was the honorable and right thing to do,” he said.
Royal Central editor-in-chief Charlie Proctor panned the interview as a “plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion.”
From Rolling Stone US