How Guiffre's secret settlement with Epstein could impact Prince Andrew sexual assault case

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  • Jeffrey Epstein
    American financier
  • Virginia Giuffre
    Alleged victim of the underage sex trafficking ring operated by Jeffrey Epstein
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Prince Andrew's lawyers are expected to ask the US court to dismiss a civil case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre, who is suing him for allegedly sexually assaulting her two decades ago – although he has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

It comes after a previously secret settlement between Giuffre and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was made public. The document, which was released on Monday 3 January, showed that Epstein had paid Giuffre $500,000 (£371,000) to end her claim against him and agree not to sue any other "potential defendant".

Although the settlement Giuffre made with Epstein does not explicitly name Prince Andrew, his lawyers argue that this deal negates any grounds for her to sue him.

Giuffre claims she was trafficked to the Duke of York as a teenager by Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell – who was last week convicted of recruiting and trafficking young girls to be abused by the financier, who died in prison in 2019.

In her 2009 claim against Epstein, Giuffre's lawyers said: "In addition to being continually exploited to satisfy defendant's [Epstein] every sexual whim, [Ms Giuffre] was also required to be sexually exploited by defendant's adult male peers, including royalty, politicians, academicians, businessmen and or other professional and personal acquaintances."

But her case never made it to trial, as later that year (on 17 November), Epstein agreed to pay her $500,000 to stop proceedings – a deal which, until now, has remained confidential. In the document, Giuffre agreed to "release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge" Epstein and "any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant".

Photo credit: Virginia Giuffre
Photo credit: Virginia Giuffre

Today, a decision on how the settlement between Giuffre and Epstein will impact the case against Prince Andrew will be argued. Speaking about the details of the settlement, last month the Duke of York's lead lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, said: "Epstein negotiated for this broad release, insisting that it cover any and all persons who Giuffre identified as potential targets of future lawsuits, regardless of the merit – or lack thereof – to any such claims."

"Giuffre's baseless claims against Prince Andrew... must be dismissed at this stage," added Brettler.

But, Giuffre's lawyers argue that her settlement with Epstein is not relevant to her claim and "does not mention Prince Andrew". Speaking on behalf of her legal team, David Boies added: "He [Prince Andrew] did not even know about it [the settlement]."

Judge Lewis A Kaplan, who is presiding over the civil case, will hold a video teleconference later to decide how the settlement will impact the case against the Duke of York.

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