NEW YORK (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Andrew has settled a U.S. lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre accusing him of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager, potentially sparing him further embarrassment in a lurid case that helped precipitate his fall from grace.
The settlement, which includes an undisclosed payment, was revealed on Tuesday in a filing in Manhattan federal court, where Giuffre had sued the Duke of York last August. The prince did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement.
Giuffre’s case had focused on Andrew’s friendship with the late Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and sex offender who she said also sexually abused her. The filing said Andrew regrets his past association with Epstein.
In the joint filing, lawyers for Giuffre, 38, and Andrew, 61, said their settlement in principle calls for the prince to make a “substantial donation” to 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,” the filing said.
Andrew has denied accusations that he forced Giuffre, who now lives in Australia, to have sex at age 17 more than two decades ago at the London home of Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan and Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A trial in the case had been expected to begin late this year. Andrew would have had to give testimony under oath.
“It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years,” the filing said. “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 statement represented a marked departure from a 2019 BBC interview in which Andrew, who is Queen Elizabeth’s second son, failed to show sympathy toward Epstein’s victims and refused to apologize for his friendship with the financier.
The royal family in January removed Andrew’s military titles and royal patronages and said he will no longer be known as “His Royal Highness.”
Andrew was defending against Giuffre’s lawsuit as a private citizen. For now, his legal exposure in the United States to similar claims appears to be over.
Penny Junor, a British royal biographer, called the settlement a “prudent” means to limit further damage to the royal family, but that Andrew’s reputation will likely be permanently scarred.
“I fear there is no chance he will come back to public duties,” Junor said. “A question mark will always hang over him.”
Buckingham Palace declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the prince declined to comment beyond the court filing. A lawyer for Andrew did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre, said: “This event speaks for itself.”
Andrew faces no criminal charges, and none will result from Giuffre’s lawsuit because it was a civil case.
The office of U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan has been investigating Epstein’s sex trafficking and considered Andrew at least a potential witness, or “person of interest.
Andrew had previously declined the office’s interview requests, former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in June 2020, the month before Maxwell’s arrest.
A spokesman for Williams did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
GIUFFRE ‘FEARED DEATH’
In court papers in the lawsuit, Giuffre said she “feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth and authority.”
She also said that in Manhattan, Maxwell forced her to sit on Andrew’s lap as he touched her, and Andrew forced her to engage in sex acts against her will.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan refused to dismiss Giuffre’s lawsuit last month, without ruling on its merits. He also said it was premature to decide whether Giuffre’s 2009 civil settlement with Epstein also shielded Andrew. Epstein had paid Giuffre $500,000 to end her Florida lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse, without admitting liability.
Andrew’s lawyers had contended that Giuffre’s lawsuit was “baseless” and that she was seeking “another payday,” after also receiving “millions of dollars” in a 2017 settlement of her civil defamation lawsuit against Maxwell.
Epstein killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted in December of recruiting and grooming underage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004. She is seeking a new trial .
Giuffre sued Andrew less than a week before the expiration of a New York state law providing a two-year window to sue over child abuse dating back decades.
Have you received Salvation from Jesus the Messiah? Time is running out. Jesus will return very soon. The signs of His return are everywhere in this crazy world we are living in. Please read below so that you can be saved. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. The Words below are directly from the Bible, so you can trust them.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all )is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. IF YOU KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:9)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
For those of us who persevere and do what Jesus says to do, we have this to look forward to in eternity: And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
The Bible – New King James Version, NKJV