Prince Andrew’s lawyers asked Judge Kaplan to unseal some documents in a 2009 settlement agreement. The request to unseal documents was part of a pre-trial motion in Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against Andrew. It took a minute, but the judge agreed to unseal the settlement agreement between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre. In case anyone needs this underlined, Virginia has spent the better part of the past 15 years trying to get justice for herself and other trafficking victims. She’s fought in court, she’s dealt with the federal authorities blocking her, and she’s absolutely trying to sue her way to justice. In 2009, Virginia sued Epstein and he quickly settled with her as long as he didn’t have to admit anything in court:
A 2009 settlement agreement between sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Roberts Giuffre — the woman who accused him of sexual abuse and of trafficking her to Prince Andrew and other men — was unsealed Monday. It shows that Epstein paid Giuffre $500,000 to drop the case without any admission of liability or fault.
The document was unsealed as part of Giuffre’s separate lawsuit against Prince Andrew. She alleges that Epstein trafficked her and forced her to have sex with his friends — including the prince — and that Andrew was aware she was underage (17) in the US. Prince Andrew has denied the allegations.
Attorneys for Andrew argued in his motion to dismiss Giuffre’s case against him in October that her lawsuit violates the terms of the settlement agreement with Epstein, in which she agreed to a “general release” of claims against Epstein and others.
In the copy unsealed Monday, Andrew’s name does not explicitly appear as a party. The agreement says it serves to “remise, release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge” parties and “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant” but does not explicitly name any others in the document viewed by CNN. Two other documents were filed along with the settlement agreement, including a “Stipulation of Dismissal” and a complaint from Epstein — both of which are still under seal.
The agreement states that it is a “final resolution” of a disputed claim filed in Florida and is intended to avoid litigation but “shall not be construed to be an admission of liability or fault by any party.” The agreement states that it is not to be used in civil or criminal proceedings against Epstein. It was signed by Giuffre and Epstein on different dates in November 2009.
Giuffre’s attorney David Boies issued a statement saying the settlement is “irrelevant” to her claim against the prince. “The release does not mention Prince Andrew. He did not even know about it,” Boies said. “He could not have been a ‘potential defendant’ in the settled case against Jeffrey Epstein both because he was not subject to jurisdiction in Florida and because the Florida case involved federal claims to which he was not a part. The actual parties to the release have made clear that Prince Andrew was not covered by it. Lastly, the reason we sought to have the release made public was to refute the claims being made about it by Prince Andrew’s PR campaign.”
Yes, it was never clear why Andrew’s lawyers thought this sealed settlement was going to be the smoking gun. It was always very clear that Epstein had asked for the agreement to be put under seal because he, obviously, didn’t want anyone to know the details of his human trafficking and pedophilia organization. If Virginia had her way, everything would have been made public – that’s why she’s been fighting this war for years.
The legal strategy from Andrew makes zero sense here – Epstein wanted to keep the names of his “friends” out of the settlement record. Andrew is hurting his own case by raising his hand and saying “no, Epstein was talking about me, I was one of his friends who raped Virginia and other women, I should be protected by this settlement agreement!” Self-incrimination, thy name is Andy.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.