Lawyers working for Prince Andrew have reportedly asked to see a ‘secret document’ signed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre in the hope it will release him from liability in the lawsuit filed against him.
Giuffre, an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein, filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in federal court in New York last month, claiming she had been forced to have sex with the queen’s second son in 2001, when she was 17 years old.
The document claims Giuffre was sexually abused by Andrew at Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan and at other locations, and that she was ‘was compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, [Ghislaine] Maxwell, and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts with Prince Andrew’.
Giuffre also claims 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’, according to the document cited by The Guardian.
In response to the lawsuit, the prince’s lawyers have reportedly claimed he will be released from liability through a confidential agreement that was signed by Giuffre in 2009.
Sources close to the case reportedly told the Mail Online the settlement agreement releases lawyers, employees, agents and heirs from liability in connection with the Epstein case, though two people with knowledge of the proceedings have apparently insisted the document does not apply to the royal.
The document is said not to mention Andrew by name, with one source saying, ‘I don’t see how this applies to Prince Andrew.’
The notion that the settlement may help Andrew was reportedly raised earlier this month by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who has also been sued by Giuffre for defamation and battery, though the case was dropped because Dershowitz qualified as a lawyer for Epstein, having previously given him legal advice.
Dershowitz described the settlement to the Mail as an ‘airtight defence’ for Andrew, though sources have stressed there is ‘no Prince Andrew clause’, with one saying, ‘This doesn’t apply to friends or acquaintances. If Prince Andrew is relying on this for his defence, it won’t go very far.’
Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied the allegations made against him.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays