Prince Andrew cannot hide behind his wealth and power from allegations he sexually abused a child, a lawyer for his accuser has said, warning the duke that he risks a “default judgment” if he ignores the civil case brought against him in the US.
David Boies, representing Virginia Giuffre, has said he and his client have tried everything they can to resolve the matter after alleging that the Duke of York had sex with her while she was 17 – knowing she had been trafficked by his former friend, the disgraced former financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Mr Boies said people “ignore the courts at your peril”, adding: “It would be very ill-advised for Prince Andrew to ignore judicial process.”
He told the BBC: “If he does, it will be a default judgment against him that will be, in effect, enforced not only in the United States, but in virtually every civilised country in the world.”
Mr Boies added that his client wanted to send a message to rich and powerful men that the behaviour in which she accuses Prince Andrew of engaging was “not acceptable and that you cannot hide behind wealth and power and palace walls”.
Virginia Giuffre: Alleging that the Duke of York had sex with her while she was 17 – knowing she had been trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP
And, in an interview with Channel 4 News, he said his client expected “vindication”, adding: “Her hope is calling the rich and powerful abusers to account will have some effect on reducing the chance that other young girls will suffer what she suffered.”
Mr Boies said Ms Giuffre wanted compensation for damage she said was done to her – and to donate money to a charity to help sex-trafficking survivors.
Epstein and Maxwell
Andrew is named as the sole defendant in a civil suit filed at a New York federal court under the state’s Child Victims Act. Ms Giuffre claims she was “lent out for sexual purposes” by Epstein – including while she was a minor under US law. The document also frequently mentions Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.
It is alleged that Ms Giuffre, then known as Virginia Roberts, was sexually abused at Ms Maxwell’s London home and Epstein’s homes in New York and the Caribbean.
Ms Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking charges and faces trial in November. Epstein took his own life in a US federal jail in August 2019, a month after he was arrested on the same charges.
The duke is accused of engaging in the sexual acts without Ms Giuffre’s consent, while aware of her age and while “knowing that she was a sex-trafficking victim”.
Mr Boies told Channel 4 News: “The evidence in terms of what [Andrew] knew about Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation is something that obviously will be for the jury to decide. I think that everybody who was closely associated with Jeffrey Epstein knew that he had these young girls, these young women who he was trafficking.”
Andrew’s representatives have not responded to a request for comment. Speaking about Ms Giuffre’s allegations in 2019, the duke said he could not remember meeting her.
In a later statement, he said: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure . . . Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.” – Guardian