A federal judge in New York has filed letters asking law enforcement in the United Kingdom and Australia to help collect testimonies from four international witnesses in Prince Andrew’s civil sexual assault case brought by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre.
Giuffre has alleged that the royal sexually assaulted her when she was 17. After failing to have the case thrown out, Prince Andrew — who was stripped of his military titles earlier this month — has asked for a trial by jury. That trial is expected to take place in New York’s Southern District in fall 2022. The judge has requested that the witnesses be deposed by the end of April. (Prince Andrew has denied any wrongdoing.)
In the four separate letters, which entered into the public record on Monday, District Judge Lewis Kaplan formally requested depositions from two British nationals — Robert Ashton Olney and Shukri Walker — and two Australians: Robert Giuffre and Dr. Judith Lightfoot.
Olney is arguably the most intriguing request, as he used to be Prince Andrew’s “equerry” — a term for a member of the royal family’s staff — and was listed in Epstein’s address book under the entry for the royal. As such, the letter notes Olney “likely has elevation information” about Andrew’s travels to and from Epstein’s properties, and about Andrew’s “relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.” Olney’s testimony could help prove or cast doubt on Andrew’s claim that he never met or abused Giuffre.
The letter goes on to list six areas of questioning for Olney that will be fair game during the deposition: Andrew’s relationship with Epstein and Maxwell; any communication Andrew might’ve had with, or about, Epstein; any communication Andrew might’ve had with, or about, Maxwell; any communication Andrew might’ve had with, or about, Giuffre; Andrew’s travels to or from New York City (Giuffre has accused Andrew of abusing her in Epstein’s Manhattan home); and Andrew’s travels to and from any other Epstein homes.
The U.S. federal judge also asked the Attorney General of Australia to get testimony from Giuffre’s husband, Robert Giuffre, and Dr. Judith Lightfoot, a psychologist who’s worked with Giuffre. Robert’s testimony was requested to “test the veracity” of Virginia’s various allegations, including how she met Andrew, her history of trauma and sexual abuse, and her claim that Epstein and Maxwell had threatened her with “death or bodily harm.” Lawyers will also be able to ask Robert about where Virginia has lived in recent years, a topic Andrew’s team has argued will release the royal from being charged in the U.S.
As for Lightfoot, the court requested testimony from her on the nature of Giuffre’s alleged childhood trauma and abuse, the medical treatment she’s received, and other matters discussed ruing their sessions together. Lawyers will also be able to ask Lightfoot about Giuffre’s “alleged emotional and psychological harm and damages,” but also the “theory of false memories.” (During Maxwell’s trial, her defense team tried to discredit the testimony of victims and accusers by putting on the stand Elizabeth Loftus, an expert on false memories who’d also testified at the trials of Harvey Weinstein, Ted Bundy, and Robert Durst.)
The last letter sent out regarded the testimony of Shukri Walker, who previously told the FBI that she vividly remembered seeing Andrew and a young girl at the London nightclub Tramp in March 2001, which is when Giuffre has accused Andrew of assault. Walker, who’s also spoken with some press outlets, has said the memory has stayed with her because she remembers apologizing to Prince Andrew after stepping on his foot while dancing. Lawyers will be able to question Walker about Andrew and Giuffre’s presence at Tramp in March 2001, and any interactions between the two she may have witnessed.
From Rolling Stone US