Prince Andrew’s strategy in the civil suit being brought against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre remains unchanged in the wake of the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict, a source close to the prince exclusively told The Daily Beast.
“Her credibility remains at the core of this dispute,” the source told The Daily Beast, adding, “Literally nothing has changed. The duke was hardly mentioned during the Maxwell trial. Yesterday’s verdict should have no impact on the proceedings.”
The source also denied as “not true” a claim first made in British newspapers that Andrew’s lawyers were holding “emergency talks” late Wednesday night after the verdict was handed down.
The source said that as far as they knew, not a single phone call had been made between Andrew and his legal team.
Andrew’s camp are striving to project a business-as-usual attitude, and to psychologically decouple the prince’s case from Maxwell’s, amidst a welter of suggestion that the Maxwell verdict is a bad omen of his own chances.
Andrew’s problem, of course, is that he and Maxwell were friends for decades. And although his name was only rarely invoked at her trial, his presence was often felt, for example when the prosecution submitted as evidence of Maxwell and Epstein’s close association a photograph of them relaxing at the queen’s Scottish estate, Balmoral, where it is believed they were Andrew’s guests.
Another famous photograph—that of Andrew with his arm around Giuffre’s waist when she was 17 years old, with Maxwell in the background, has come to be a symbol of Andrew’s entanglement with Maxwell and Epstein. Epstein is believed to have taken the photo.
The Maxwell verdict comes ahead of a crunch showdown next week for the prince, who is asking a judge to dismiss the civil suit being brought against him by Giuffre.
Giuffre is seeking unspecified damages and alleges that she was sex trafficked to the prince and raped by him on three occasions.
Andrew’s motion to dismiss the case is due to be heard on Tuesday, and ahead of that the judge has ordered the publication of a 2009 settlement between Giuffre and Epstein.
The prince’s lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, has consistently argued that the terms of the 2009 settlement, which both sides have seen and made use of in their legal briefs, releases Andrew from all legal jeopardy in connection with Giuffre’s claims of exploitation and abuse.
Giuffre’s side are taking the threat seriously, and a source close to Andrew previously told The Daily Beast that Andrew is “optimistic” and “likes his chances.”
However many observers expect that Giuffre’s suit will not be thrown out in its entirety as a result of the motion to dismiss, which means that the prince still needs to prepare for a full trial.
Prince Andrew may have been encouraged to continue to train his legal fire on Giuffre in an attempt to undermine her credibility after she was accused of being involved in procuring girls for Epstein herself in the Maxwell trial. ‘Carolyn,’ one of Maxwell’s victims who testified against her in court, said that she was initially recruited by Giuffre.
It’s all the same, blame-the-victim defense. This verdict demonstrates that you can’t obscure the overwhelming amount of evidence by these smokescreens, and that jurors are not prepared to blame the victim.
British newspaper the Mirror quoted a source who claimed that Andrew’s lawyers now believe ‘Carolyn’ “holds a smoking gun to any possible role Virginia played in Epstein’s pyramid scheme of abuse,” adding, “Andrew’s lawyers have convinced him that if he is to stand any chance of preventing her case from going to court, they need to fight with fire and that nothing should be off-limits.”
In the light of Ghislaine’s staggering loss, however, it might be reasonable to ask why Andrew’s team think that they will do any better by essentially pursuing the same shame-and-blame strategy, and trying to paint victims of Epstein’s depraved activities as money-hungry fantasists.
As one insider in the Giuffre camp told The Daily Beast this week: “[Andrew’s] argument is essentially the same as Maxwell’s—that these young women made it all up for money, and they were all just friends and there wasn’t any sex trafficking and the girls who are making these claims are liars and gold diggers. It’s all the same, blame-the-victim defense. This verdict demonstrates that you can’t obscure the overwhelming amount of evidence by these smokescreens, and that jurors are not prepared to blame the victim.”
Although Giuffre was not called as a witness in Maxwell’s trial, her lawyer David Boies told The Daily Beast the conviction of Maxwell was “a great day for Virginia and for all of Epstein and Maxwell’s survivors.”