NEW YORK — Certainly one of Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime accusers sued Prince Andrew on Monday, taking accusations that she has repeatedly publicly lodged towards him, together with that he sexually assaulted her when she was 17, to a proper venue.
Legal professionals for Virginia Giuffre filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court docket, the place Epstein was charged criminally with intercourse trafficking a month earlier than he killed himself at age 66 in August 2019 in an adjoining federal jail the place he was ordered to await trial.
Giuffre has repeatedly made her allegations towards Epstein, his onetime girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, and Andrew, however the lawsuit was the primary time she has instantly confronted Andrew in such a proper setting. It steps up public relations stress on the prince, even when he stays past the attain of the courts.
In a press release, Giuffre stated the lawsuit was introduced underneath the Baby Victims Act to allege she was trafficked to him and sexually abused by him.
“I’m holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” she stated. “The highly effective and wealthy should not exempt from being held answerable for their actions. I hope that different victims will see that it’s attainable to not reside in silence and worry, however to reclaim one’s life by talking out and demanding justice.”
“I didn’t come to this determination evenly,” she added. “As a mom and a spouse, my household comes first — and I do know that this motion will topic me to additional assaults by Prince Andrew and his surrogates — however I knew if I didn’t pursue this motion, I might be letting them and victims all over the place down.”
Prince Andrew vs. the feds:Can he be forced to talk about Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell?
In late 2019, Prince Andrew informed BBC Newsnight that he by no means had intercourse with Giuffre, saying, “It didn’t occur.”
He stated he has “no recollection” of ever assembly her and informed an interviewer there are “quite a few issues which can be unsuitable” about Giuffre’s account, which alleges the encounter occurred in 2001.
“I can completely categorically let you know it by no means occurred,” Andrew stated.
After the disastrous interview, he stepped down from his royal function and has not been seen in public apart from household events, such because the loss of life of his father, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, in April.
Giuffre has lengthy stated Maxwell recruited her at age 17 to be sexually abused by Epstein and Maxwell from 1999 to 2002.
Based on the Monday lawsuit, which sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, the prince abused Giuffre on a number of events when she was underneath the age of 18.
Throughout every of the alleged acts, Giuffre was given “categorical or implied threats” by Epstein, Maxwell, and/or Andrew to have interaction in sexual acts with the prince, the lawsuit stated.
It stated that she “feared loss of life or bodily harm to herself or one other and different repercussions for disobeying” the trio due to their “highly effective connections, wealth, and authority.”
It stated that on one event, the prince sexually abused her in London on the dwelling of Ghislaine Maxwell when Epstein, Maxwell and Prince Andrew pressured her to have sexual activity with the prince towards her will.
On one other event, Prince Andrew sexually abused her in Epstein’s New York mansion, the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit additionally alleged that Andrew sexually abused Giuffre on Epstein’s personal island within the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The lawsuit added that Andrew knew her age on the time primarily based on communications with Epstein and Maxwell. It stated he went forward anyway “for the aim of gratifying his sexual wishes.”
The lawsuit was introduced underneath the Baby Victims Act, a 2019 New York state legislation that permits victims to briefly make authorized claims of abuse that occurred once they had been youngsters no matter when or how way back the alleged abuse occurred.
Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not responsible to intercourse trafficking fees in Manhattan federal court docket, the place she faces trial in November. She is held with out bail. Her attorneys didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Giuffre, beforehand often known as Virginia Roberts, first accused Andrew, and different males who had been associates of Epstein, years in the past, inflicting additional harm to Queen Elizabeth II’s second son from the fallout of his friendship with Epstein, which continued even after Epstein turned a convicted intercourse offender in 2008 in Florida.
The Duke of York was accused in a 2015 Florida lawsuit of getting intercourse with Giuffre who claimed she was a 17-year-old “intercourse slave” employed to service him and different wealthy and well-known associates of Epstein.
On the time, Buckingham Palace issued three more and more emphatic statements on Andrew’s behalf, denying he had intercourse with an underage woman. Andrew himself publicly denied the accusation throughout a long-scheduled speech at a reception for British commerce in Davos, Switzerland.
Andrew, who now lives in a mansion on the Windsor Citadel property, had already misplaced his prized job as a British commerce envoy in 2011 as a consequence of his Epstein connection, and Giuffre’s allegations solely deepened the scandal surrounding him.
In the meantime, Giuffre and attorneys representing her and different Epstein accusers have tried to stress the prince into speaking to federal investigators in New York who had been pursuing Maxwell.
Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, and Gloria Allred, who represents a number of accusers of Epstein and Maxwell, have each turned up in London (pre-pandemic) to seem within the media to stress Andrew into speaking.
Andrew has denied he knew something about Epstein’s or Maxwell’s alleged unlawful actions, and so far the efforts to get him to cooperate have failed. His authorized crew has stated he provided his help 3 times to the People underneath situations, however was rebuffed.
Two U.S. attorneys for the Southern District of New York have referred to as on Andrew to cooperate within the final two years however nothing has occurred.
“We’d welcome Prince Andrew coming in to speak to us. We wish to take pleasure in his assertion,” stated Audrey Strauss, the U.S. legal professional in Manhattan, in saying Maxwell’s arrest in July 2020.
Federal prosecutors additionally formally requested to talk with Andrew underneath the Mutual Authorized Help Treaty, an settlement between the 2 nations to share proof and knowledge in felony circumstances. The request is just like issuing a subpoena, however to this point the specified interview has not occurred.
Thus far, Buckingham Palace has not issued a press release commenting on Andrew’s behalf.
Contributing: Maria Puente, USA TODAY