- Virginia Giuffre claims Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her at Jeffrey Epstein’s home at 17.
- Andrew’s lawyers argue Giuffre’s settlement with Epstein releases the duke from Giuffre’s claims.
- Andrew isn’t named in the document but his lawyers argue he’s among “other potential defendants” referenced.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Giuffre alleged that Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew in his New York mansion, in London, and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands in 2001 when she was 17.
However, the allegation was thrown out and struck from the record by a judge, who said it was “immaterial and impertinent to the central claim” in the case at the time.
In the documents related to sex-trafficking charges against Epstein, witness Johanna Sjoberg told investigators about a sexual incident that she said happened, and involved herself, Maxwell, Andrew, Giuffre, and a puppet of the prince.
“Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet … on her lap,” Sjoberg was quoted saying in the documents. “I sat on Andrew’s lap, I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine.”
Buckingham Palace defended Andrew in a statement at the time, denying that he had any involvement with Giuffre.
“It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts,” the palace’s statement read. “Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
In his statement, Andrew added that during the time he knew Epstein, he did not witness or “suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.”
Giuffre responded with a statement of her own. Speaking to reporters outside a Manhattan court at the time, she said the prince “knows exactly what he’s done, and I hope he comes clean about it.”
He also said during the interview that on the night Giuffre alleged they had dinner, partied at a club in London called Tramp, and later had sex, that he was at home with his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie.
The interview was perceived negatively and labeled a “car crash” by much of the British media.
Following the interview, a string of charities, businesses, and universities cut ties with Andrew, and, on November 20, the duke announced he would drop his royal duties.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support,” Andrew said in a statement.
After saying that the Queen had given him her permission to step back from his duties, Andrew said he continues “to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.”
He added that he would be “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
“This is not some sordid sex story,” she added. “This is a story of being trafficked. This is a story of abuse, and this is a story of your guys’ royalty.”
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions,” Giuffre said, via her lawyers, in a statement to ABC.
Court documents unsealed in September showed that the lawsuit was delivered to a police officer to Prince Andrew’s residence at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, England, on August 27, Insider’s Michelle Mark reported.
As Insider’s Sinéad Baker and Michelle Mark reported, unsealed court documents revealed that a process server left the legal documents at Andrew’s address with a police officer, who promised to forward them to Andrew’s team.
A UK judge ruled that Giuffre’s lawyers could legally serve Andrew the legal documents, as the Daily Mail’s Rebecca English reported.
The publication reports that Brettler, the prince’s lead defense attorney of the LA-based firm Lavley Singer, charges up to $2,000 an hour. Royal courtiers believe the final sum “will run into millions,” and expect the case to last for months or even years, the publication added.
The motion asked the court to pause discovery in the case and demanded that Giuffre sit for a two-hour deposition about her residency, as Shamsian reported.
As Shamsian wrote, in their motion from August, Giuffre’s lawyers argued that the case was properly filed in Manhattan federal court because she is a citizen of Colorado and some of the sexual misconduct she alleges took place in the state of New York.
Giuffre’s lawyer Sigrid McCawley said the motion would “achieve nothing” in a December 24 letter filed as an exhibit as part of the prince’s motion.
“Even if your contention that this Court lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims were correct (it is not), Plaintiff would simply refile her claims in New York state court,” McCawley wrote in the letter.
But in his 2019 BBC interview, the royal said that he has a medical condition that prevents him from sweating.
On December 30, Giuffre asked the prince’s lawyers to prove he cannot sweat in a court filing.
“If Prince Andrew truly has no documents concerning his communications with Maxwell or Epstein, his travel to Florida, New York, or various locations in London, his alleged medical inability to sweat, or anything that would support the alibis he gave during his BBC interview, then continuing with discovery will not be burdensome to him at all,” the filing read.
The prince’s lawyer Andrew Brettler claimed the settlement prevented Giuffre from taking legal action against “third-part beneficiary to the release,” as Insider’s Jacob Shamsian reported.
“Because Prince Andrew is a senior member of the British royal family, he falls into one of the expressly identified categories of persons, i.e., royalty, released from liability under the Release Agreement, along with politicians, academicians, businessmen, and others allegedly associated with Epstein,” Andrew’s attorneys wrote.
Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies denied that the settlement was a “get out of jail free card,” saying that it “at most” provided legal exemption for people involved in a Florida lawsuit connected to Epstein, as Reuters reported.
As part of the 2009 settlement, Giuffre agreed to release Epstein and “other potential defendants,” defined as “second parties” — which appears to be a reference to Epstein’s legal team and employees — from any other civil lawsuits. Family members, tax services, government subpoenas, and anyone else who might have access to the settlement were the only “third parties” mentioned, as Insider’s Shamsian reported.
Although the document does not explicitly name Prince Andrew, “royalty,” or anyone else as “other potential defendants,” the Duke of York’s attorneys have argued that he falls into that category.
“To avoid being dragged into future legal disputes, 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,” Andrew’s attorneys wrote in an October court filing asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit. “Epstein’s former attorney, Alan Dershowitz, and Prince Andrew are axiomatically among the releases in that 2009 settlement agreement.”
As Shamsian reported, Brettler, an attorney for Prince Andrew, told Insider his team contends that the duke is among the “other potential defendants,” “as evidenced by the allegations in Ms. Giuffre’s 2009 Complaint against Epstein that specifically mentions ‘royalty’ as one of the categories of persons who allegedly abused her.”
Legal experts Insider spoke to on January 3 said that the settlement may help Prince Andrew get Giuffre’s case dismissed, but it will depend on how a judge interprets the language of the settlement.
Buckingham Palace and representatives for the Duke of York did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Judge Kaplan said the duke’s motion to dismiss Giuffre’s lawsuit was “denied in all respects,” The Independent reported.
Although Giuffre’s attorneys have said they want the case to go to trial, the new ruling does not prevent the possibility of a settlement from being reached before then.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said in a statement sent to Insider. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
Andrew will no longer use his HRH title in any official capacity, a royal source told Insider.