A 2009 agreement between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre was released yesterday. This release could be crucial to a legal battle involving Prince Andrew, who is currently being sued by Virginia Giuffre for alleged sexual assault and battery when she was in her teens.
The agreement reached in 2009 between the disgraced financer and Virginia Giuffre was released after an order from US judges. A New York judge is waiting to receive arguments on whether to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by Ms Giuffre, which is pursuing unspecified damages. Virginia Giuffre claimed she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to have intercourse with the Duke of York when she was just age 17. Under US law, a person of 17 is classed as a minor. Ms Giuffre was pictured with the Duke of York and recently convicted Ghislaine Maxwell during the alleged period of abuse.
Currently, Prince Andrew denies all allegations against him, with his legal team dubbing the lawsuit “baseless”. Andrew has not been charged with any criminal offences at this point.
Prior to the settlement’s release, Prince Andrew’s lawyers claimed that it frees the prince from any liability in the case due to it covering “royalty”. Andrew’s lawyers are relying on his status as a senior member of the British royal family, also claiming it applies to anyone whom Ms Giuffre may sue, now or in the future. Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers state that this release from liability could “at most” extend to people involved in deeper litigation in Florida, effectively excluding Andrew. Giuffre’s lawyers say Prince Andrew should not be using this settlement as a “get out of jail free card”.
It was revealed yesterday that Epstein agreed to pay Giuffre $500,000 for her to end any legal claims against him and anyone who could be considered a defendant in a settled case against Epstein. However, Ms Giuffre’s lawyers argue that Prince Andrew was previously unaware of the settlement, in addition to the fact that the settlement is in reference to litigations involving federal claims in Florida, of which Andrew was not a part of. Therefore, the settlement does not release Andrew from any liability.
Andrew’s lawyers had previously attempted to halt any lawsuits against him, alongside stopping the public release of the 2009 settlement on the technicality that Virginia Giuffre now lives in Australia with her husband who is an Australian national and three children—arguing that the New York court where this lawsuit is filed, may not have the jurisdiction over the case.
These arguments were subsequently rejected by Federal judge Lewis A Kaplan who stated that Prince Andrew’s attempts to block the settlement’s release was “just another in a series of tried attempts by Prince Andrew to duck and dodge the legal merits of the case Virginia Giuffre has brought against him. All parties in litigation are subject to discovery and Prince Andrew is no exception”.
Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers have requested information regarding the movements of Prince Andrew on Jeffrey Epstein’s private jets and visits to Pizza Express in Woking. In addition to his visits to a nightclub in London where Ms Giuffre allegedly danced with the ‘profusely sweating’ Andrew before she was assaulted. Andrew’s lawyers are yet to provide any documentary evidence or witnesses to support that he has the “inability to sweat” or his alibi that he was in Woking the night he was accused of having sex with Virginia Giuffre.
If the lawsuit that Virginia Giuffre has brought against Andrew stands, a trial could take place after September 2022.