People following Jeffrey Epstein’s long saga have expressed frustration that his larger network has never been properly interrogated. After Epstein’s death in prison and Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, which was limited in scope, the last hope to understand the breadth of his influence hinged on a lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Prince Andrew. That hope may now be dead after she settled her case against the British royal on Tuesday.
Giuffre sued Andrew late last year, accusing him of sexual abuse when she was a teenager. Beginning in 2002, when she was 16, she claims she was trafficked by Epstein and abused at the hands of his friends. “One such powerful man to whom Plaintiff was lent out for sexual purposes was the Defendant, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York,” the suit asserted. Giuffre said Andrew was “a close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who spent years overseeing and managing Epstein’s sex-trafficking network.”
In response, Andrew said he didn’t remember ever meeting Giuffre.
On Tuesday, Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, informed the judge that the case should be put on ice as the parties had reached a settlement in principle. He said Giuffre would be paid an undisclosed amount of money and receive a large donation to her victims’-rights charity. Andrew, in the agreement, admitted that she was a victim of abuse and public scorn. The agreement 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 next stage in the case had been a March deadline for reports from both parties on discovery, including witness lists.
Giuffre had previously settled with the Epstein estate in 2009 for $500,000. Two hundred twenty-five claimants applied to the Epstein Victims Compensation Fund, which distributed about $125 million.
“Epstein and Maxwell took a part of my childhood that I’ll never get back,” Giuffre said after Maxwell was convicted. (Motions for a mistrial in the Maxwell conviction are being discussed after two jurors said their history of sexual abuse informed their thinking about the verdict.)
“And thus dies the last chance we had at exposing the *real* people behind Epstein in an open U.S. court,” tweeted Saagar Enjeti, a popular politics YouTuber, in response to the news of the settlement.