Settlement between Prince Andrew accuser and Epstein made public
Previously sealed settlement provides release from liability for ‘any other person’ who could face claims from Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
A previously sealed court settlement between the late financier Jeffrey Epstein and an American woman that Prince Andrew claims protects him from an ongoing sexual assault lawsuit has been made public.
The 2009 settlement agreement between Epstein and Virginia Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, provided a release from liability for “any other person or entity” who could have been a defendant against claims by the US woman, a court filing showed on Monday.
Giuffre sued Andrew in August. She accuses him of forcing her to have sex more than two decades ago when she was 17 at the London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre said he also abused her at two of Epstein’s homes. Prince Andrew has denied the accusations.
The deal between the US woman and Epstein, which provided for Giuffre to be paid $500,000, was made public as part of her civil lawsuit against Andrew filed in Manhattan federal court.
The agreement resolved Giuffre’s allegations that Epstein had hired her as a teenager to be a sexual servant at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Andrew, 61, has moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing Giuffre is seeking a “payday” from her accusations against Epstein and his associates. Giuffre, 38, is seeking unspecified damages from Andrew. The prince has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing.
Lawyer Andrew Brettler, representing the prince, has said that the agreement “releases Prince Andrew and others from any purported liability arising from the claims Ms Giuffre asserted against Prince Andrew here”.
Lawyer David Boies, who represents Giuffre, said in a statement Monday that the language about protecting potential defendants in the settlement between his client and Epstein was “irrelevant” to the prince’s lawsuit in part because the paragraph did not mention the prince and he didn’t know about it.
“He could not have been a ‘potential defendant’ in the settled case against Jeffrey Epstein both because he was not subject to jurisdiction in Florida and because the Florida case involved federal claims to which he was not a part,” Boies said.
Boies said he wanted the Epstein-Giuffre agreement publicly released “to refute the claims being made about it by Prince Andrew’s” public relations campaign.
It will now be up to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan to determine whether the clause in the 2009 pact blocks Giuffre from suing Andrew.
A hearing about Andrew’s motion to dismiss the civil lawsuit is scheduled for Tuesday.
Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in 2019 in what authorities later ruled a suicide. He had been awaiting trial in his own sex trafficking case.
Lawyers for Andrew have challenged the civil lawsuit on multiple grounds, including by saying Giuffre has lived most of the past two decades in Australia and cannot accurately claim to be a resident of Colorado, where her mother lives.
In late 2019, Prince Andrew told the BBC Newsnight programme that he never had sex with Giuffre, saying, “It didn’t happen.”
He said he has “no recollection” of ever meeting her.
The interview was widely panned by critics who said Andrew seemed insensitive to Epstein’s victims.
Andrew gave up many royal duties in November 2019, saying that his association with Epstein had become a “disruption to my family’s work”.
Giuffre’s lawsuit is separate from the criminal trial against Maxwell that concluded last week. Maxwell, 60, was convicted of recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004.