LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Reuters [London, England]
February 15, 2022
By Luc Cohen
Britain’s Prince Andrew has settled a civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre accusing the prince of sexually abusing her when she was 17, a court filing showed on Tuesday.
Here is a look at the lawsuit against Queen Elizabeth’s second son, the settlement and what the dispute means for Andrew.
WHAT WERE GIUFFRE’S CLAIMS AGAINST ANDREW?
Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, sued the Duke of York in New York in 2021. Giuffre said Andrew forced her to have intercourse at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and Epstein’s longtime associate, and at properties owned by Epstein. Andrew denied the claims.
Epstein, a teacher-turned-globetrotting financier, died by suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 at the age of 66 while awaiting trial on sexual abuse charges. Maxwell, 60, was convicted on Dec. 29, 2021, of sex trafficking and other crimes.
WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT MEAN?
A settlement is an out-of-court resolution of a civil dispute. As a result of the settlement, which includes a payment by Andrew to Giuffre, there will be no trial.
Andrew had previously requested a jury trial, and U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan had said a trial could begin between September and December of 2022.
WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT?
In a joint statement filed in court, lawyers for Andrew, 61, and Giuffre, 38, did not disclose the sum of Andrew’s payment, but said the prince would make a “substantial donation” to Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.
If the case had gone to trial and Giuffre won, Andrew could have been ordered to pay Giuffre damages. She had asked for an unspecified amount.
DID ANDREW ADMIT WRONGDOING?
Andrew did not confirm or deny Giuffre’s claims in the statement. He said he regretted his association with Epstein, and would “demonstrate his regret” by supporting victims of sex trafficking.
He also praised Giuffre’s “bravery,” an about-face from his earlier argument that her lawsuit was baseless and that she was simply seeking a payday.
“Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks,” the statement said.
HOW HAS THE LAWSUIT AFFECTED ANDREW?
The allegations have done significant damage to the prince’s reputation. Buckingham Palace in January said Andrew would no longer be known as “His Royal Highness” after losing his royal and military links, and said he was defending the Giuffre case as a private citizen.
Andrew had already stepped down from public duties days after a November 2019 interview with the BBC in which critics said he failed to address key questions about his ties to Epstein.
Despite the settlement, it was unlikely that Andrew would return to public duties, said British royal biographer Penny Junor.
Andrew does not face any other pending civil lawsuits in U.S. federal courts.
COULD THE SUIT LEAD TO CRIMINAL CHARGES?
No. Andrew has not been charged criminally, and no criminal charges could have resulted from Giuffre’s lawsuit since it was a civil case.
Andrew declined requests by federal prosecutors in the United States for an interview about their inquiry into Epstein’s sex trafficking, former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in June 2020.
WAS GIUFFRE’S LAWSUIT RELATED TO MAXWELL’S CONVICTION?
No. Giuffre did not testify in Maxwell’s criminal trial, and her allegations did not form the basis of any of the six sex abuse counts against her.
Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Additional reporting by Andrew MacAskill in London; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Will Dunham