Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre’s legal deal with Jeffrey Epstein released. A near-dozen-year-old legal settlement between Virginia Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein, the late financier and convicted sex offender whom she accused of sexual abuse, was released on Monday. Giuffre received $500,000 in her lawsuit against Epstein, court papers revealed.
The unsealing stemmed from Giuffre’s sexual abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew, which she filed on 9 August in Manhattan federal court.
Giuffre has long accused Epstein and his sometime girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell – now a convicted sex trafficker, after her New York trial – of forcing her into sex with the royal when she was 17.
He vehemently maintains his innocence.
Andrew filed Giuffre’s settlement with Epstein as part of his attempt to dismiss her case, arguing that it shields him. Lawyers for the prince contend the settlement contains provisions that bar Giuffre from taking legal action against many Epstein associates.
The unsealed settlement states that upon receipt of the stipulated sum, Giuffre, referred to under her maiden name, agrees to “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 … from all, and all manner of, action and actions of Virginia Roberts, including state or federal, cause and causes of action”.
Andrew is not mentioned. Nor is the lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who Giuffre has accused of sexual misconduct facilitated by Epstein, which he has repeatedly denied.
In a court filing on 29 October, Andrew’s attorneys said: “Giuffre settled her sex-trafficking and sexual-abuse claims against Epstein in 2009. In doing so, she provided Epstein with a general release of all claims against him and numerous other individuals and entities.
“To avoid being dragged into future legal disputes, Epstein negotiated for this broad release, insisting that it cover any and all persons who Giuffre identified as potential targets of future lawsuits, regardless of the merit – or lack thereof – to any such claims.”
The attorneys also said: “Because Prince Andrew is a senior member of the British royal family, he falls into one of the expressly identified categories of persons, ie, royalty, released from liability under the release agreement, along with politicians, academicians, businessmen and others allegedly associated with Epstein.
“As a third-party beneficiary of the release agreement, Prince Andrew is entitled to enforce the general release contained therein.”
Lawyers for Andrew will argue for dismissal on Tuesday. Giuffre’s settlement is discussed extensively in their motion to dismiss.
Attorneys for Andrew did not comment on Monday.
A representative for Giuffre’s lawyers said the release was “irrelevant to Ms Giuffre’s claim against Prince Andrew” as it “does not mention Prince Andrew”.
“He did not even know about it. He could not have been a ‘potential defendant’ in the settled case against Jeffrey Epstein both because he was not subject to jurisdiction in Florida and because the Florida case involved federal claims to which he was not a part. The actual parties to the release have made clear that Prince Andrew was not covered by it.
“Lastly, the reason we sought to have the release made public was to refute the claims being made about it by Prince Andrew’s PR campaign.”
The settlement with Epstein has also come up in Giuffre’s lawsuit against Dershowitz. On 16 April 2019, she filed a defamation suit over his denials of sexual misconduct. Dershowitz filed the Epstein settlement agreement in his fight against that suit.
“Professor Dershowitz, as a third-party beneficiary of the 2009 settlement agreement, was entitled to rely upon and enforce the terms of that secret deal,” lawyers for Andrew said.
On Monday, Dershowitz told the Guardian the settlement prevented Giuffre from legal action against him.
“I’m delighted that this document was unsealed,” he said. “I want all documents, all photographs, all videotapes, I want everything unsealed so the whole truth comes out.
“This document demonstrates that, in exchange for $500,000 … she agreed that she would not sue any of the following people, and they included anybody who she had accused or could accuse, including [academics] and royalty.”
On 14 December, judges in the Prince Andrew and Dershowitz cases said: “Mr Epstein, as is well known, is deceased. The document is well known to Ms Giuffre and, although under seal, has been available to all parties in these cases for some time.
“We question whether any proper purpose would be served by the continued secrecy of the document save, perhaps, the dollar amount of the settlement it provided for.”
On 29 December, judges ordered the unsealing, saying nobody – including representatives of Epstein’s estate – had made an adequate showing otherwise.
Lawyers for Giuffre have requested documents as part of her litigation, such as proof of Prince Andrew’s claim that he cannot sweat.
Giuffre has claimed the duke was “sweating profusely all over me” at a London discotheque on a night when she alleges they had sex. Andrew told the BBC the allegation could not be true, “because I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time”.
The prince also maintained that on the day cited by Giuffre he took his daughter Beatrice to a late-afternoon children’s party at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking, Surrey. After that, he said, he was home with his children all night.
Prince Andrew’s profile has been damaged considerably by his association with Maxwell and Epstein.
On 29 December, a federal jury in Manhattan found Maxwell, the daughter of the late press baron Robert Maxwell, guilty on five counts for luring girls as young as 14 into Epstein’s orbit for him to sexually abuse.
Feminist campaigners in France are calling for tougher government action to combat violence against women and girls after three women were allegedly killed by their current or former partner on the first day of 2022.
The body of a 28-year-old military recruit who had been stabbed to death was found near Saumur in western France on Saturday. The local prosecutor, Alexandra Verron, said a 21-year-old man, also a soldier, had been arrested and investigators were looking into a possible femicide – the killing of a woman by her partner or ex-partner.
In eastern France, police discovered the body of a 56-year-old woman with a knife in her chest after neighbours at Meurthe-et-Moselle reported a violent dispute. The victim’s husband was questioned by police and was due to appear before a judge on Monday.
On Sunday, a 45-year-old woman was found in the boot of a car at a property in Nice. She had been strangled. Police were interviewing the woman’s former partner, a 60-year-old man who reportedly admitted having a violent altercation with his ex-wife, and their 24-year-old son, in whose vehicle the body was allegedly discovered.
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, said he was devastated by the alleged killing and described it as a “horror”.
The collective #NousToutes accused the French government of remaining “scandalously” silent on the grim start to the year for women. It said an estimated 220,000 women reported conjugal violence every year, but judges had ordered the use of electronic bracelets in only 379 cases.
Lena Ben Ahmed, of #NousToutes, told France Info radio: “These femicides are not isolated cases. They’re not the occasional news story. They are systematic violence. The whole system colludes in these murders because it banalises and minimises sexist and sexual violence. That’s why we are scandalised by the government’s silence.”
Five of the world’s most powerful nations have agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” in a rare joint pledge to reduce the risk of such a conflict ever starting.
The pledge was signed by the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, the five nuclear weapons states recognised by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) who are also the five permanent members of the UN security council. They are known as the P5 or the N5.
Such a common statement on a major issue of global security has become a rarity at a time of increasing friction between Russia, China and the west. With Moscow threatening to invade Ukraine and China signaling its readiness to use military force against Taiwan, the joint statement represents a renewed commitment to prevent any confrontation turning into a nuclear catastrophe.
A senior US state department official said the wording of the statement had been hammered out at P5 meetings over several months, despite the high-tension environment.
“At the base level to be able to say that this is how we think about these risks, and this is an acknowledgement that it is something that we want to avoid, particularly during a difficult time, I think is noteworthy,” the official said.
The release of the statement had been timed to coincide with the five-yearly review conference of the NPT, but that conference has been postponed amid the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, and disagreements on whether the session could be held virtually.