Epstein settlement with Virginia Giuffre to be made public, affects Prince Andrew case

Ms Virginia Giuffre (centre) arriving for a hearing against Jeffrey Epstein at the Federal Court in New York on Aug 27, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - A 2009 settlement agreement between the late financier Jeffrey Epstein and Ms Virginia Giuffre, which bears directly on Ms Giuffre's civil lawsuit accusing Britain's Prince Andrew of sexual abuse, will be made public early next week.

In a joint order on Wednesday (Dec 29), US District Judges Lewis Kaplan and Loretta Preska in Manhattan ordered the agreement's release on or about Jan 3, 2022, finding no reason to keep it under seal.

Mr Kaplan oversees Ms Giuffre's lawsuit accusing Prince Andrew of forcing her to have sex more than two decades ago when she was under 18 at the London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and abusing her at two of Epstein's homes.

Prince Andrew has denied Ms Giuffre's claims.

Ms Preska oversees Ms Giuffre's lawsuit accusing Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz of defaming her when he denied her claim that he was among the men Epstein compelled her to have sex with.

The prince's lawyer, Mr Andrew Brettler, has contended that the 2009 settlement with Epstein released the Duke of York from liability from Ms Giuffre's lawsuit because it covered "royalty," and Epstein insisted it cover anyone Ms Giuffre might sue.

Ms Giuffre's lawyer, Mr David Boies, countered that the settlement applied "at most" to people involved in underlying litigation in Florida, where Epstein had a home, and that Prince Andrew should not use it as a "get out of jail free card."

Prince Andrew has not been charged with crimes. Ms Giuffre's civil lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Mr Kaplan is scheduled on Jan 4, 2022 to hear oral arguments on whether to dismiss Ms Giuffre's lawsuit against Prince Andrew.

In a filing on Tuesday, Mr Brettler called for the case to be halted or thrown out because Ms Giuffre has long lived in Australia, depriving the Manhattan court of jurisdiction, and cannot support her claim that she is a Colorado resident.

Ms Sigrid McCawley, another lawyer for Ms Giuffre, in a statement called that argument "another in a series of tired attempts by Prince Andrew to duck and dodge the legal merits of the serious case Virginia Giuffre has brought."

Epstein, a registered sex offender, killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Maxwell was found guilty by a US jury on Wednesday of helping Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.