Prince Andrew's out-of-court settlement with Giuffre: a timeline of events
Tuesday, 15th February 2022 saw Giuffre's attorneys present a letter to the court stating that a settlement has been reached and the case will likely now be dismissed within 30 days.
The letter outlines the move, "Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre's charity in support of victims' rights. 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."
"It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years," the letter continues. "Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others. He pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims."
The amount the duke will be paying has not been confirmed, although the British public have started to worry about where the money is coming from. There is a possibility that the payment to be made by Andrew, who receives a Navy pension and income from the Duchy of Lancaster, could indeed be paying with public money.
According to the BBC, Kate Macnab, a lawyer at Reeds Solicitors, says: "It is likely there will be some demands to know where the payment is coming from - public or private purse?"
That infamous photograph we have all seen - showing the prince with his arm around Ms Giuffre - was what Andrew has been constantly calling into question. Andrew's lawyers said they do not have 'enough information to admit or deny its existence', according to The BBC.
An 11-page court document was presented in January, which denied allegations and made a rather surprising demand. The papers denied Virginia Giuffre's claim that Prince Andrew was a close friend of Maxwell. It also stated that Andrew 'admits that he met Epstein in or around 1999'.
"Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint", Andrew's lawyers wrote, as reported by The BBC. A 'meaningless' request, as described by lawyer, Lisa Bloom; as it would have been Giuffre's constitutional right to have a jury, should she have wished.
Lisa Bloom, from the US, represents a number of Maxwell's and Epstein's accusers. She spoke up after these papers were filed. Bloom called the demand for a jury a "PR move", as Ms Giuffre had already asked for a jury trial.
In the photo: Lisa Bloom defending two victims accusing actor Steven Seagal of sexual assault in 2018.
Also in these papers was a list of a number of reasons why Andrew's lawyers believed her civil lawsuit should have been dismissed. Consent was a main focus: they asked for the claims to be dismissed over the doctrine of consent, should one be 'assuming, without admitting' Giuffre suffered abuse at the hands of the prince.
According to The Guardian, the duke, who was set to fight the US sexual assault lawsuit as a private citizen, had also been stripped of his royal patronages by the Queen.
The Queen has distanced the monarchy from the Duke of York by stripping him of all his military affiliations and royal patronages as the result of his sexual assault case.
The result of this means that, at the beginning of 2022, Andrew was completely removed from official royal life, allowing him time to fight the civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre after a US judge rejected his effort to have the case against him dismissed later last year.
In a statement by Buckingham Palace on Thursday 13th January, the Palace said: “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
The duke’s roles have been returned to the Queen with immediate effect for dispersal to different members of the royal family. They would most likely never be returned to Andrew.
The removal from royal life came after more than 150 military veterans wrote to the Queen to ask her to strip Andrew of his honorary military roles in what they described as their “upset and anger” at the duke.
The Guardian reported at the time: “Were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post,” they are quoted as saying in the letter, sent the day after Lewis Kaplan, a Manhattan judge, rejected Prince Andrew’s attempt to dismiss the sexual assault lawsuit against him.
On Wednesday 12th January, a motion to dismiss Miss Roberts (now Giuffre) sex abuse lawsuit handed by Prince Andrew's lawyer was rejected by Manhattan judge, Judge Kaplan.
Giuffre (right), 38, has maintained her allegation that she was coerced into sex with Prince Andrew when she was just 17 by the disgraced American financier Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
Giuffre alleged in 2015 that, on numerous occasions, she was coerced into sex with the prince at Maxwell’s London home; as well as in Epstein’s New York mansion and on his private island in the US Virgin Islands.
Photo shows Melania Trump, Prince Andrew, Gwendolyn Beck and Jeffrey Epstein at a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000.
In a Manhattan federal court in August of last year, Giuffre filed the civil suit against the prince. As Sky News reports, she not only accused him of battery, but also of intentionally inflicting emotional distress when she was a teenager.
Andrew claims that he will not be able to defend himself adequately in the case. His reasons? Because the claims are too vague.
While giving the BBC Newsnight interview that made the world flinch in 2019, he denied sleeping with Miss Roberts and insisted that he was with his daughter in Pizza Hut on the date of one of the accusations.
According to The Guardian, former federal prosecutor and co-founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers, Neama Rahmani, said “This is a huge development because it clears probably the biggest legal hurdle Virginia Giuffre and her team had to get her case to a jury.”
The duke's team argued that by signing a confidential settlement with Epstein, Miss Roberts had waived her right to pursue the duke. This argument seems to have been unsuccessful.
Roberts received a $500,000 payout in 2009 and agreed to 'release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharged' Epstein and 'any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant’. Stated in a settlement, made public earlier this month as reported by The Mail Online.
Judge Kaplan said the agreement 'cannot be said' to benefit Andrew. Kaplan also said the court was not able at this stage to consider the duke's efforts to cast doubt on Ms Giuffre's claims or whether he was covered by the settlement agreement, suggesting these were issues that must be discussed at a trial
Former federal prosecutor, Neama Rahmani said, “If it were clear that the settlement agreement covered the prince, he could have dismissed the case, but he chose not to." Judge Kaplan said it’s a question of fact, 'and questions of fact go to the jury', according to the report by The Guardian.
Giuffre did not testify at Maxwell’s trial, so “this is her one chance to tell her story in a very public way”, Rahmani said and continued. Giuffre previously settled “for what I would say is an insignificant amount – a nominal amount, pennies on the dollar” for a sexual abuse claim against mega-millionaire Epstein.
This news now means that the already-under-pressure royal will definitely have a few ugly months ahead of him. Members of the military have said that it's best he keeps a low profile for the time being.
Andrew looked to face a hugely expensive and reputation-shredding court case next September, until it emerged that he has paid-off Ms Giuffre. The amount is unknown but figures suggest that could be in the region of at least $5million.
After settling a £6.6m debt with the owner, Andrew has been forced to sell off the £17million Swiss ski chalet he owns with his ex-wife Sarah, the Duchess of York, to cover his legal bills and the settlement. The Queen reportedly refused to pay.
According to Mail Online, those with inside knowledge knew that Andrew wanted to follow the route of an out-of-court, and potentially multimillion-pound, settlement with Miss Giuffre, or face having his private life splashed across the news in a blockbuster trial in nine months.
Rahmani thought the Duke was out of luck in his attempts to push this out of the public eye. "I think this case is going to move forward,” Rahmani said at the time.
As The Mail Online states, he could have gone straight to the second circuit court of appeals, where the case would have been heard by a panel of judges. Or he could have even filed a motion of reconsideration to Judge Kaplan, asking him to reconsider his ruling. But it seems his court days are over for now.
The Guardian reports that Julie Rendelman, a longtime defence attorney, said, “An appeal will be very difficult... It was made very clear that the issues that were raised by Prince Andrew’s attorneys are something that are a question of fact, not a question of law and therefore, something that a jury needs to decide, not the judge.”
Rendelman continued, “When you look at the decision that the judge wrote, it covers all the bases in terms of all the issues raised, and I think that particularly when it comes to a question of fact for a jury, an appeals court is hard pressed to step on that decision-making process.”
Because both he and former Miss Roberts — who is an American citizen but lives in Australia — are based abroad, the Prince could have also sought to have the case dismissed by arguing that it cannot be heard in a US federal court. But, again, this part is now over.
Should Andrew have ignored the court summons altogether, the court would have ruled in his absence. The Mail Online refers to Legal experts explaining that Andrew could not be forcibly extradited due to it being a civil case and not a criminal case.
Edward Grange, extradition expert and partner at Corker Binning, told the Mail Online: 'Prince Andrew would only be at peril of extradition if he were charged with a criminal offence in the USA that carries a sentence of imprisonment of 12 months or more.' All these complications, however, are now thrown out.
Royals based in the UK cannot be forced to give evidence due to it being a civil case in a different jurisdiction. David Boies, the lawyer representing Ms Giuffre, however, was planning on summoning Prince Charles, Meghan Markle and Sarah, Duchess of York as witnesses. Markle more so than others - as she is American.
The case was already on the path to a trial, and discovery (the 'formal process of exchanging information between the parties about the witnesses and evidence they'll present at trial') but it has been stopped in its tracks.
Mitchell Garabedian spoke to The Guardian about Prince Andrew testifying. 'Mitch' has represented victims of sexual abuse for decades and said: 'I think it would be a serious mistake for Prince Andrew not to testify – he's a party and, if he doesn't testify, it's an elephant in a room. If he choses just not to testify, then a jury's going to be wondering why he hasn't.'
Speaking to the BBC, media lawyer Mr Stephens said this case is like '... a bomb into the middle and the heart of the royal family and threatens to provoke constitutional crisis as a consequence.’
Buckingham Palace has refused to comment again. But royal experts told MailOnline that Her Majesty now has a 'horrid shadow' over her Jubilee year. A year that should mark celebration and triumph for the monarch, could well indeed be tainted.