Prince Andrew Sticks To His Guns, Filing A Document Denying All Virginia Giuffre’s Accusations

Prince Andrew has been a fixed in the crosshairs and due to respond since August 9, when Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed her civil lawsuit against him for sexual abuse in the sense that his strategy of categorical denial of her allegations would have to be argued out, so it comes as no surprise when his lead American defender Andrew Brettler filed Andrew’s “Answer And Request For Trial By Jury” with the court on January 26. It’s simply the second salvo as the process of discovery gets underway — the first being their move to dismiss the case, which, as predicted by this reporter in this space, was roundly denied on January 12 by Judge Lewis Kaplan.

As a salvo, the 15-page filing forms the baby steps of a more substantive response from Andrew to the charges made by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, and lends the civil dispute some shape by declaring that he fully intends to go the distance and issue his denials under oath, to a jury. Point by point, he denies every allegation in Ms. Giuffre’s complaint.

Along the way, Andrew manages to claim that he is not and was not a close friend of the recently convicted Ghislaine Maxwell, which seems an obvious exercise of the perogative of finding sudden distance to a person who has for several reasons become disadvantageous to have known. It remains a debatably curious vector to take in this document, however.

While it can eventually work out to be of value at trial for Andrew to have registered this diminution of his relationship with Ms. Maxwell, pictured above en route to the Royal Box at Ascot with Andrew (with Jeffrey Epstein off camera, to the right), but Andrew’s particular estimation of his relationship with Maxwell through his lawyers comes in the form of a denial to a question that was not asked. Andrew is already on the record as having been a friend of Epstein’s for a decade, culminating in a star-studded dinner in his honor at Epstein’s mansion in December 2010, arranged by Maxwell and the New York publicist Peggy Siegal in an effort to rehabilitate Epstein socially after his Florida conviction.

And, he knew Maxwell long before that, in London, after her Oxford days, during the latter part of her father’s life. More concretely, Andrew’s denial of having known Maxwell well is undermined by the email exchanges between the two regarding Virginia Roberts Giuffre, as Giuffre publicly named Andrew as one of the men to whom she was trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell. The reams of historical photographs of them together at social events do, actually, exist, although they are only a circumstantial metric of the intimacy of the relationship. Put another way, any photographs of Andrew and Maxwell together do not answer questions about the intimacy, or lack thereof, in their friendship, but to a jury they would certainly track as an indication of a more-than-casual relationship. Put diplomatically, it’s a bit scrambled to try to recast that relationship now.

Just as predictably, as described by this reporter in 2019, by finally stripping Andrew of his remaining, and most treasured honorary military titles on January 13, the day after Judge Kaplan’s ruling in New York, Buckingham Palace is in the ongoing process of walling off the body and the business of the monarchy from Andrew’s burgeoning legal and personal predicaments. Andrew has not been stripped of his royal prefix (His Royal Highness, HRH), but, significantly, he has agreed to retire it.

The retirement of his designation carries a certain pointed, courtly meaning — in effect, he has lost the ability to announce to the world that he is royal and is closely associated with the British monarchy. There are many rationales for this — and while the fact that he does retain, in a private way, the “HRH” can be read as merciful, it can also be read as quite a handy defensive strategem on the part of the monarch and her court: They have to leave something to strip from him if things get worse, which, if the last few days are a good barometric pressure reading of Andrew’s situation, it seems they inevitably will.

It was the Queen who summoned Andrew to the January 13 crisis “summit” during which this deal was cut, but the United Kingdom’s de facto regent, Charles, and Andrew’s nephew William are reported to have been pressing the Queen to make a swift move and are considered this measure’s chief architects.

So far, so good. Andrew’s request for a trial also means that for the coming months — in what can only be described as a nightmare for Buckingham Palace and for its wayward prince — there will, definitely, occur the euphemistically named process of “discovery,” namely, the assembly of evidence, both physical, as in the prince’s medical records, and in the form of (sworn) depositions from witnesses. That would include not just an interrogation of the defendant prince; it also includes depositions from any member of the royal family that Giuffre’s attorneys think might hold key information about Andrew and/or the veracity of his various statements and alibis.

In addition to the flight logs from Epstein’s pilots, which it’s assumed will be subpoenaed, there were many service personnel in the many domiciles of Jeffrey Epstein, and two of them, retired butler/houseman John Alessi in Palm Beach, who testified for the prosecution in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, and retired telecommunications specialist Steve Scully in the U.S. Virgin Islands, have already told stories confirming Andrew’s presence in those Epstein properties. Scully confirmed Andrew’s presence in a swimming pool with the then seventeen-year-old Virginia Roberts, an account that will be hard for Andrew to rebut. Alessi has stated that Andrew “spent weeks with us” — meaning, in the Palm Beach mansion, an extended time frame previously not disclosed — and that he, the prince, “had massages daily.”

It’s for these and many other evidentiary reasons that David Boies, of Boies, Schiller and Flexner, the attorneys for Virginia Roberts Giuffre, so heartily welcomed Andrew’s filing his denials on January 26.

The legendary barrister said, in part: “We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms Giuffre for her own abuse at his deposition and at trial.”


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