Prince Andrew settles out of court with Jeffrey Epstein sexual abuse victim

Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, has settled a lawsuit out of court brought by Virginia Giuffre, who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was 17 years old. The settlement was announced in a Manhattan court filing on Tuesday, while the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The prince, who is also known as the Duke of York, did not admit to any of the accusations made against him in Giuffre’s lawsuit. Instead, the court filing says that he “intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.” The statement also says that Prince Andrew “never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character” and that she has suffered “as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks.”

The announced settlement, which will lead to the filing of a stipulated dismissal of the lawsuit, enabled Prince Andrew to avoid being deposed by Giuffre’s attorneys under oath regarding the details of his interactions with the victim at various properties owned by Jeffrey Epstein in 2000–2001.

As such, the settlement represents a further coverup of the criminal enterprise run by Jeffrey Epstein and his assistant Ghislaine Maxwell in which underage girls were sexually abused by them and trafficked to their high-society friends and associates around the world for more than two decades.

Maxwell was found guilty on December 29 of multiple counts of child sex trafficking in a trial that similarly revealed very little new information about the Epstein sex ring, who participated in it and why it was permitted to operate for so many years. Maxwell is expected to be sentenced in June for up to 65 years in prison for her offenses.

In the settlement, Prince Andrew places all the responsibility for the abuse of Giuffre on the now-deceased billionaire sex offender, saying he “regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors.” He goes on to claim that he will support “the fight against the evils of sex trafficking and supporting its victims.” Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his New York City jail cell under suspicious circumstances in August 2019 after he had been charged and arrested for trafficking dozens of young girls.

As Julie K. Brown, author of the book Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story, co-wrote with Ben Weider in the Miami Herald about the settlement by Prince Andrew on Tuesday, “It was the bombshell lawsuit that wasn’t. … The lawsuit’s speedy conclusion leaves more questions than it answers.”

Virginia Giuffre (formerly Roberts) filed her lawsuit against Prince Andrew on August 9, 2021, in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The filing lays out the relationship between Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein that began in 1999 through Ghislaine Maxwell.

The brief states, “Prince Andrew committed sexual assault and battery upon Plaintiff when she was 17 years old. As such, Prince Andrew is responsible for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress pursuant to New York common law. The damage to Plaintiff has been severe and lasting.”

The lawsuit then provides a description of Epstein’s recruitment and sex trafficking operation: “Epstein had perfected a scheme for manipulation and abuse of young females. As part of the scheme, Maxwell or another female recruiter would approach a young girl and strike up a conversation in an effort to quickly learn about the girl’s background and any vulnerabilities they could expose. Epstein’s recruiters found their targets everywhere and anywhere, including schools, spas, trailer parks, and the street.”

The brief states that Epstein and Maxwell would “normalize” the sexual abuse of young girls by making them think they were taking part in “massages.” They manipulated the young girls with money and with threats made by lawyers in Epstein’s inner circle.

Giuffre’s lawsuit recounts the development of her relationship with Epstein, Maxwell and Prince Andrew. It says, “Between 2000 and 2002, Epstein sexually abused Plaintiff at numerous locations including his mansion in this District, at 9 East 71st Street, New York, New York 10021.” A map illustrates at least 30 flights that Giuffre made with Epstein, including to London, Paris, Atlantic City, West Palm Beach, the Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands.

The brief reviews at least three instances in which Prince Andrew abused Giuffre at Epstein’s New York City mansion and at his private Little St. James Island in the Caribbean and says that she “feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth, and authority.” The brief includes a photo of Giuffre with Prince Andrew at the apartment of Ghislaine Maxwell in London.

At the time that Giuffre’s lawsuit was filed, Prince Andrew said he had no recollection of ever meeting her. He then proceeded to make a motion to have the lawsuit thrown out by the court on the grounds that it was “baseless, nonviable and potentially unlawful.” Prince Andrew’s lawyers also attempted to argue that the lawsuit was invalid because of a settlement Giuffre made with Epstein in 2009. He also put forward the idea that the photo of him with Giuffre was a fake.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected all of Prince Andrew’s motions on January 12 and said that the case would proceed. The next day, Queen Elizabeth II stripped Prince Andrew of his military titles and royal patronages. He was no longer able to use the title “His Royal Highness,” effectively banishing him from Buckingham Palace. In November 2019, Prince Andrew had already announced he was indefinitely stepping away from public life.

Once it became clear that he could not stop the trial from moving forward and that he would be deposed, Prince Andrew began negotiating for an out-of-court settlement. Giuffre sued Ghislaine Maxwell for defamation in 2015 and settled out of court with Epstein’s assistant in 2017. Statements that Maxwell made on the witness stand in that proceeding are the basis of two counts of perjury against her that are still pending.