Court documents filed on Tuesday morning by counsel for Virginia (Roberts) Giuffre revealed she had settled her high-profile human trafficking case against Prince Andrew. Although the documents omit both an admission of guilt by Andrew and a disclosure of the settlement sum, the Telegraph asserts that the beleaguered prince will pay Giuffre an estimated £12 million ($16 million) to resolve her case under New York’s Child Victims Act, and that the money will come from his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The parties informed the court that they had reached a “settlement in principle” and anticipated filing a stipulation of dismissal of the case within the next month. An attachment filed by Giuffre’s lawyer noted that the prince would make a “substantial donation” to Giuffre’s charity, acknowledged that Epstein trafficked many girls over the years and regretted his association with Epstein. The court filing also states that “Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character,” “commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others” and “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.”
In response, United States District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan suspended all court deadlines, held the action in abeyance and removed the trial from the court’s calendar unless the parties failed to file the stipulation of dismissal by March 17, 2022.
The settlement assures Andrew of protection from trial and pre-trial discovery, including civil depositions and courtroom cross-examination that could have proven highly damaging to the much maligned prince. Andrew steadfastly has denied Giuffre’s accusations that Epstein repeatedly trafficked her to Andrew.
Giuffre alleged she had nonconsensual relations with Andrew three times when she was under the age of eighteen. First, Giuffre asserted she was forced to have sexual intercourse with Andrew at the London home of Epstein’s companion, recently convicted felon Ghislaine Maxwell, after a night of dancing at a club. Second, Giuffre claimed Epstein sold her to Andrew at Epstein’s Manhattan home. Third, Giuffre stated that Andrew abused her during an orgy in Little St. James, Epstein’s private island. During each of these predatory encounters, Giuffre said she feared death or bodily injury if she failed to provide sexual services to Andrew.
For the first time since Giuffre filed her lawsuit, Andrew acknowledged some sympathy for human trafficking victims and personal pain over his friendship with the scandal-ridden Epstein, who committed suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal criminal sex trafficking charges.
Still, Andrew is unlikely to return to the public area in a high profile role given that his mother stripped him of most of his royal duties and his right to use the “his royal highness” title in the wake of Giuffre’s dramatic allegations of sexual abuse. Polls indicate the British public have turned decisively against the prince after years of financial improprieties, private indiscretions and Giuffre’s very public lawsuit against Andrew.
Further, the royals expect numerous high-profile events this year to mark the Queen’s reign and Prince Philip’s death in 2021. Andrew’s settlement means the family will not endure a trial involving a senior royal, hanging like a dark cloud over the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations this summer marking her seventieth anniversary year since her ascension to the throne in 1952.
Buckingham Palace offered no comment on the settlement. One of Ms. Giuffre’s lawyers described the settlement as a vindication of Ms. Giuffre’s long-simmering claims against Andrew as well as a victory for the often marginalized victims of human trafficking, saying, “At a firm that has from its beginning acted upon the belief that the law should be marshaled to bring justice to the most vulnerable, I can say, without hesitation, that our representation of survivors upholds that tradition. I am very pleased with the resolution of Virginia Giuffre’s litigation against Prince Andrew.”