Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II, faces the prospect of a civil lawsuit in the United States. New York judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on Wednesday January 12 in favor of the arguments of the plaintiff, Virginia Giuffre, who accuses the Duke of York, 61, of having sexually abused her on three occasions in 2001, when ‘she was still a minor (17 years old). This decision further damages the prince’s reputation and is a blow to the British royal family, who would have preferred to devote the year 2022 to the celebration of the sovereign’s platinum jubilee (70 years of reign), rather than to a great judicial unpacking with worldwide media resonance.
Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts) claims to have been forced into sex with the prince in London, New York and the Caribbean by American sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein (a friend of the prince, who committed suicide in prison in 2019) and her partner Ghislaine Maxwell, convicted at the end of 2021 of sex trafficking in adolescents.
The Duke of York has always denied these allegations. In recent months, his lawyers have tried to prevent a trial, their last attempt being the evocation of a clause, in an out-of-court settlement signed in 2009 between Mr Epstein and Virginia Roberts, which they believe , prevented the latter from prosecuting people other than the American financier for sexual assault. Kaplan J. disagreed with their arguments. Its decision is subject to appeal.
Andrew’s highly questionable friendships with Jeffrey Epstein came to light with the publication in 2010 of a photograph of the prince walking alongside the American in New York’s Central Park after the latter had served a sentence. jail for sexual assault. In another photograph, published in 2011 and now famous, the prince holds Virginia Roberts by the waist alongside Ghislaine Maxwell (it was taken in the latter’s London residence in March 2001). Other photos have been published over time, showing that Andrew did not hesitate to introduce Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell to the heart of royal circles. They were even invited to Balmoral, the very private Windsors’ summer home in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
The prince chose to break his silence on these sulphurous relations during a lengthy interview on the BBC’s “NewsNight” program at the end of 2019. The result was catastrophic: not only did he show no compassion for the victims Mr. Esptein nor expressed any regret at having dated this sexual assailant for so long, but the explanations he put forward for denying sex with Virginia Roberts came as a surprise.
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