Judges to unseal Epstein papers ahead of Prince Andrew’s case
New York: A 2009 settlement agreement between the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre, which bears directly on Giuffre’s civil lawsuit accusing Britain’s Prince Andrew of sexual abuse, will be made public early next week.
In a joint order on Wednesday (Tuesday AEDT), US District Judges Lewis Kaplan and Loretta Preska in Manhattan ordered the agreement’s release on or about January 3, 2022, finding no reason to keep it under seal.
Prince Andrew pictured with Virginia Giuffre at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell (right) in London in 2001.
Kaplan oversees Giuffre’s lawsuit accusing Andrew of forcing her to have sex more than two decades ago when she was under 18 at the London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and abusing her at two of Epstein’s homes.
“Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff, a child, to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will,” according to the complaint by Giuffre, who was previously known as Virginia Roberts.
Andrew has strongly denied Giuffre’s claims.
Preska oversees Giuffre’s lawsuit accusing Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz of defaming her when he denied her claim that he was among the men Epstein compelled her to have sex with.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre tells the BBC’s Panorama program in 2019 she was a trafficking victim of Jeffrey Epstein’s.Credit:BBC Panorama
The prince’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, has contended that the 2009 settlement with Epstein released the Duke of York from liability from Giuffre’s lawsuit because it covered “royalty”, and Epstein insisted it cover anyone Giuffre might sue.
Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, countered that the settlement applied “at most” to people involved in underlying litigation in Florida, where Epstein had a home, and that Andrew should not use it as a “get out of jail free card”.
Andrew has not been charged with crimes. Giuffre’s civil lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Kaplan is scheduled to hear oral arguments on whether to dismiss Giuffre’s lawsuit against Andrew on January 4, 2022.
In a filing on Tuesday, Brettler called for the case to be halted or thrown out because Giuffre has long lived in Australia, depriving the Manhattan court of jurisdiction, and cannot support her claim that she is a Colorado resident.
Sigrid McCawley, another lawyer for Giuffre, in a statement called that argument “another in a series of tired attempts by Prince Andrew to duck and dodge the legal merits of the serious case Virginia Giuffre has brought”.
Epstein, a registered sex offender, killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Maxwell was found guilty by a US jury on Thursday (AEDT) of helping Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.
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