The ‘royalty’ defence
Andrew argues the 2009 confidential agreement Giuffre reached with Epstein – whom she has accused of trafficking her for sex when she was a teenager – shields him from liability.
Andrew’s lawyer says the deal covers “royalty” and that Epstein intended for it to cover anyone Giuffre might sue.
In the settlement, Giuffre agreed to “hereby remise, release, acquit, satisfy, and forever discharge the said Second Parties and any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant (“Other Potential Defendants”) from all, and all manner of, action and actions of Virginia Roberts”.
The original civil action under the pseudonym Jane Doe 102, made public in 2011, stated: “In addition to being continually exploited to satisfy the defendant’s every sexual whim, Plaintiff 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.”
The settlement was also raised in a suit by Giuffre against Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, with whom she also claims she had underage sex. She sued him for defamation in 2019 after he repeatedly denied her claims and called her a liar. Dershowitz, who counter-sued Giuffre for defamation and infliction of emotional distress, also said the 2009 deal barred her claims.
The nine-page agreement includes a requirement that the amount of the settlement remain confidential. The parties also agreed that the deal “should not in any way be construed as an admission by Jeffrey Epstein” that he violated any federal or state laws.
The ‘red herring’ rebuttal
But Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, says it’s a red herring.
“The release is irrelevant to Ms Giuffre’s claim against Prince Andrew,” said Boies. “The release does not mention Prince Andrew.”
Boies said Andrew could not have been a “potential defendant” covered by the settlement because he wasn’t subject to jurisdiction in Florida and that case involved federal claims of which the British royal wasn’t a part. Andrew was also unaware of the release at the time it was signed, Boies said.
What happens next
Giuffre’s civil case against Andrew is still in its early stages. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan has said a trial could begin between September and December of 2022 if no settlement is reached.
A hearing on Andrew’s motion to dismiss the case is scheduled for Tuesday morning in New York.
Andrew gave up many royal duties in November 2019, stating that his association with Epstein had become a “disruption to my family’s work”.
Giuffre’s suit 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.
Giuffre’s claims did not form the basis of any of the charges Maxwell faced and she did not testify for either side during the three-week criminal trial.
Federal prosecutors put Epstein’s net worth at more than $US500 million and said he had an income of more than $US10 million a year when he was arrested in 2019.
Epstein, who was found dead in his jail cell before he could go on trial for sex-trafficking, left an estate that included about $US194 million in hedge fund and private equity investments, $US113 million held in equities and $US57 million in cash, according to a court filing.
Before he died, Epstein used high-pressure litigation tactics and secret settlements to keep details of his sexual behaviour out of the public eye. Some settlements exceeded $US1 million, with three women agreeing to drop their suits for a total of $US5.5 million. After Epstein died, his estate set up a compensation fund that distributed about $US125 million to 135 victims.
Maxwell’s lawyers aggressively questioned the women who testified against her about amounts they received in lawsuits and the fund. “Jane” said on the stand that she received $US5 million. Prosecutors pointed out that Maxwell received some $US30 million from Epstein.
Andrew’s lawyers said in his motion to dismiss Giuffre’s suit that she was looking for “another payday” by accusing “a member of the world’s best known royal family of serious misconduct”.