Epstein case: Prince Andrew’s disputes with American justice are not over

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Virginia Giuffre has achieved her goal: her complaint for rape against Prince Andrew was deemed admissible on Wednesday January 12 by Judge Kaplan, in charge of the case. His trial is expected to take place next fall. This woman accuses the Duke of York of having had three forced sexual relations with her in 2001, when she was 17 years old.

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She was part of a circuit of prostitutes set up by the financier and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who reportedly paid her $15,000 (€13,133) for her initial date with Prince Andrew.

Avoid a lawsuit

The second son of Queen Elizabeth II has always denied having had any relationship with his accuser, despite the publication of a photo of him holding the young woman, then called Virginia Roberts, by the waist. During an interview on the case broadcast in November 2019 on the BBC (1), he tried to clear himself: “I don’t have the slightest recollection of ever meeting this lady. “

During the video hearing organized last week between the different parties, his lawyers tried to avoid a trial by relying on a secret agreement signed on November 17, 2009 between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre. In exchange for the payment of €600,000 and other things of value not described, the latter had indeed agreed to stop any complaint against Jeffrey Epstein but also against “any other persons or entities that might be included as potential defendants”, as the text of the agreement published last week reveals. Prince Andrew’s lawyers believe that their client, even if he is not expressly named in this agreement, could have been part of it.

The noose is tightening around the prince

Kaplan J. rejected this interpretation. In his 44-page judgment (2), he indicated that Prince Andrew could not be protected by an agreement he did not know existed. And that the fact that it is not quoted does not allow “to demonstrate clearly and unambiguously” that he was covered by this agreement.

Even if he can appeal this decision to a federal court of justice, Prince Andrew sees the noose tightening around him. During this civil lawsuit, Virginia Roberts/Giuffre seeks to obtain financial compensation for the abuse suffered. Unless it is proven that the Duke of York lied to the authorities, he will therefore not be sentenced to prison.

A lawsuit would be disastrous

This is also the reason why the trial could not take place: Prince Andrew could conclude a financial agreement with his accuser, as Jeffrey Epstein did in 2009. The imminent sale of his chalet in Verbier, in Switzerland, revealed this week, would allow him to do so. Even if he was not cleared of the suspicions that weigh on him, the royal family could push him towards this solution in order to avoid any additional embarrassment. A trial would indeed be disastrous for the image of the Windsors, in particular because of the description of the sexual charges brought against Prince Andrew. And this even if he refuses to testify in person at the trial, which he is authorized to do.

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One thing is certain: his personal reputation is forever tarnished. The timing of this announcement is also unfortunate since Buckingham Palace on Monday revealed the program of celebrations planned for June 2 to 5 for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

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