Between the lines

Prince Andrew case: what’s in the secret Epstein-Giuffre settlement?

Royal’s lawyers given access to sealed deal – but insiders say ‘there is no Prince Andrew clause’

A US judge has given Prince Andrew’s lawyers permission to look at a sealed agreement between his accuser Virginia Giuffre and the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Giuffre claims the Queen’s son assaulted her when she was 17 years old in three locations including London and New York, an accusation he has vehemently denied.

The Duke of York’s legal team believe the contents of the 2009 settlement will nullify Giuffre’s civil sexual assault case against the royal.

The “precise wording of that deal is currently confidential – sealed by a court”, said the BBC. But the prince’s lawyers have claimed in court that Giuffre had agreed not to sue anyone else connected to Epstein when she settled damages with him 12 years ago.

The prince, who has not been charged with any crimes, must formally respond to Giuffre’s lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, by 29 October.

In a pre-trial hearing last month, Andrew’s lawyer, Andrew B Brettler, said the document “releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability”. But Giuffre’s lawyers have argued that it is “irrelevant to the case”.

Two unnamed sources close to the case told the Daily Mail last month that the agreement would not apply to the prince.

“This doesn’t apply to friends or acquaintances. If Prince Andrew is relying on this for his defence, it won’t go very far,” said one. The other said simply: “There is no Prince Andrew clause.” 

The Independent explained the 2009 settlement agreement is “related to a Florida state case, which did not involve Prince Andrew”, resolving a case Giuffre had brought against Epstein, who committed suicide in a a Manhattan federal jail ten years later while awaiting a sex-trafficking trial.

It is “up for grabs whether Jeffrey Epstein – or his lawyers who crafted that 2009 settlement agreement – were attempting to build a firewall to protect those close Epstein associates in the hallowed pages of the Epstein ‘little black book’”, wrote Guy Martin in Forbes last month.

Andrew has “long been at pains to play down his decades-long association” with Epstein, said Martin. Therefore, having his lawyers claim protection from the lawsuit “by classifying the prince as an ‘associate’ or friend of Mr. Epstein’s will be a tack in the opposite direction”.

“Whether Andrew wants to hitch his wagon to that of Epstein in mounting a defence will be a question that we will be able to watch the prince’s lawyers answer.”

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