A court document disclosed Tuesday that Prince Andrew, who was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl provided to him by billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, has decided to settle by making a significant payment to his accuser’s charity and swearing that he never intended to harm her character.
The agreement averts a trial that would have severely tarnished the monarchy. Aside from the concealed payment to Virginia Giuffre’s organization, Andrew recognizes she has been a victim of abuse, according to the statement. It was unclear if Giuffre would be compensated personally as part of the deal.
In a letter to the New York federal court hearing the case, Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, stated that a settlement in principle had been reached and that counsel on both sides will seek the lawsuit be dismissed within a month.
Andrew’s lawyer did not respond to a message seeking comment right away.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said he’ll put the case on hold until March 17, after which he’ll decide whether to set a trial date if the lawyers don’t want a dismissal by then.
In August, Giuffre, 38, filed a lawsuit against Andrew. During her trip with Epstein, the American accused the British monarch of sexually assaulting her.
Andrew vehemently refuted Giuffre’s claims and tried unsuccessfully to have the case dismissed earlier this year.
“Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew have negotiated an out of court settlement,” according to a statement attached to Boies’ letter. Upon Ms. Giuffre’s receipt of the settlement (the amount of which will not be disclosed), the parties will submit a stipulated dismissal.”
“Prince Andrew wants to give a significant gift to Ms. Giuffre’s foundation in favor of victims’ rights,” the statement reads. Prince Andrew has never sought to disparage Ms. Giuffre’s reputation, and he recognizes that she has suffered as a known victim of abuse as well as as a result of unjust public insults.”
The prince “regrets his involvement with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in speaking up for themselves and others,” according to the statement. Epstein allegedly trafficked “countless young girls” over a long period of time, according to the statement.
As part of expressing his contrition, he also promised to help victims of sex trafficking.
The potential deal comes only weeks after Kaplan denied the prince’s request for an early dismissal of the lawsuit, paving the way for depositions and other evidence gathering.
Andrew was deprived of his honorary military titles, functions, and leadership of several charities, known as royal patronages, after Kaplan’s ruling. Andrew had previously stepped aside from royal obligations. In formal circumstances, he can no longer use the term “his royal highness.”
The decision was made in an attempt to protect the House of Windsor from the prospect for years of negative publicity if the case went forward.
It happened after more than 150 veterans and current members of the armed services petitioned the queen to take away her second son’s military titles, claiming that he had failed to meet the “the highest standards of probity, honesty, and honorable behavior” required of British officers.
The royal family’s pressure would have driven Andrew to settle, according to Mark Stephens, an international lawyer. This is especially true as Queen Elizabeth II approaches her Platinum Jubilee, or 70 years on the reign. According to Stephens, the cleverly drafted settlement allows Andrew to salvage face by admitting simply an unfortunate affiliation with Epstein.
Stephens told The Associated Press, “Essentially, what he’s done is throw himself on this legal grenade to avert further damage to the royal family.” “And I believe he had no choice but to settle because otherwise, the Queen’s Jubilee would have been dominated by this issue, and we would have heard specifics of what he was said to have done with Virginia Giuffre.” And all of this would have wreaked havoc on the royal family as a whole.”
Andrew paid roughly $10 million to settle, according to Stephens, who received the money via selling a ski chalet at a “fire sale” price. He believes the money will be divided into three unequal parts, with Guiffre, her attorneys, and charity each receiving a percentage.
Aside from the settlement, Giuffre will be able to promote her support for abuse victims and avoid reliving “this whole trauma in the public circus of a courtroom,” he added.
“She’s been vindicated in the sense that Prince Andrew accepts she’s a sexual assault victim,” Stephens added.
Between 2000 and 2002, Giuffre said she met Andrew while traveling regularly with Epstein, according to her attorneys, when she was “on call for Epstein for sexual purposes” and “loaned out to other influential men,” including Andrew.
According to her complaint, she continues to experience considerable emotional and psychological suffering and injury. She claims she had intercourse with Andrew three times: in London in 2001, at Epstein’s New York house when she was 17 years old, and in the Virgin Islands when she was 18 years old.
Although a photograph of Giuffre and Andrew together in a London townhouse, his arm around her naked midriff, was included in Giuffre’s lawsuit against him, Andrew has consistently rejected Giuffre’s claims and has maintained he can’t recall ever meeting her.
Inconsistencies in her claims throughout the years, which would have been emphasized by Andrew’s counsel at trial, may have prompted her to settle in part, but she has described them as harmless errors that occur when recalling terrible events years afterwards.
Because of the identities that would have come up at trial, the settlement may be a relief to others besides the prince and Giuffre.
In addition to Andrew, Giuffre claims she was sexually trafficked by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former US Senator George Mitchell, high-profile lawyer Alan Dershowitz, French modeling scout Jean Luc Brunel, and millionaire Glenn Dubin. Her claims have been debunked by everyone.
Andrew spent two decades in the Royal Navy, including time as a helicopter pilot during the 1982 Falklands War. Several foreign honorary military responsibilities, such as colonel-in-chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment, were among the honorary military titles he lost.
He has spent years fending off questions about his ties to Epstein, the American billionaire who died in a Manhattan federal prison in 2019 at the age of 66 while awaiting prosecution on child sex trafficking allegations. Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime lover, was convicted on similar crimes last month.
The Andrew case would be settled in the same way that Giuffre’s separate lawsuits against Maxwell and Epstein were settled years ago. Epstein just agreed to a settlement of $500,000.
Unless a victim of sexual assault chooses to come forward publicly, as Giuffre has, the Associated Press does not usually identify them.