US judge asks Prince Andrew’s ex-assistant to give testimony in sex abuse case

New York judge requests information about duke’s contacts with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell

Matt Mathers
Tuesday 01 February 2022 14:29 GMT
Britain Prince Andrew
Britain Prince Andrew (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The US judge in Prince Andrew’s sexual assault case has lodged a formal request with the High Court in London for testimony from a former assistant to the Duke of York.

Robert Olney could give a sworn statement about the duke's relationship with the late financier and paedophile Jeffrey Epstein as part of the upcoming civil trial.

He previously served as Prince Andrew's equerry, an officer of the Royal Family who attends or assists members of the family.

The New York judge overseeing the case - brought by Virginia Giuffre - has asked Mr Olney to be questioned about the duke's contacts with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

He has written letters to both the Senior Master of the Queen’s Bench Division and the Australian Attorney General to request their assistance in acquiring evidence for the civil claim filed by Ms Giuffre.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender, died in prison in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial.

A New York jury in December last year found Maxwell guilty of grooming underage girls.

Ms Giuffre claims the duke sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was 17 while she was being trafficked by Epstein.

Andrew, 61, has repeatedly denied all the allegations against him.

Lawyers for Guiffre say Mr Olney's name and phone number appeared in Epstein's contacts book, suggesting he could have knowledge of their relationship and "relevant information" about the duke's travel to and from Epstein properties.

Judge Lewis Kaplan said that if his request was accepted, Mr Olney should be questioned about any communications that concern Ms Giuffre.

Andrew claims he has never met Ms Giuffre.

Court documents reveal the judge has also sent a request asking for a statement to be taken from Shukri Walker, who has claimed she saw the duke at Tramps night club in London in March 2001 with a young woman who may have been Ms Giuffre.

Ms Giuffre is suing the duke for damages in her home country of the US, claiming she was trafficked by disgraced financier Epstein, Andrew’s friend and a convicted sex offender, to have sex with the royal when she was 17, a minor under US law, at Maxwell’s London home in the early 2000s.

The duke is also alleged to have sexually abused Ms Giuffre during a visit to Epstein’s private island, Little St James, and on a separate occasion at the financier’s Manhattan mansion.

He denies the allegations.

In letters to the Australian Attorney General, Judge Kaplan requested assistance in obtaining testimony from Ms Giuffre’s husband Robert and her psychologist Dr Judith Lightfoot.

The judge asked for Mr Giuffre’s testimony to include how he met Ms Giuffre, his discussions with her about Andrew, her alleged childhood trauma and abuse, and her relationship with Epstein and Maxwell.

The letter requests Mr Giuffre’s testimony also include all claims Ms Giuffre has made against the duke, her alleged emotional and psychological harm and damages, her role in trafficking and recruiting young girls for Epstein and the Giuffre household’s finances.

In a separate letter to Dr Lightfoot, Judge Kaplan has asked her evidence to include Ms Giuffre’s medical treatment, her diagnosis of Ms Giuffre, matters discussed during their sessions, and claims made about Andrew.

Testimony is also sought from Dr Lightfoot about her opinions of the alleged psychological harm suffered by Ms Giuffre, theory of false memories and the consequences of her childhood trauma.

Andrew previously took the dramatic decision to face his accuser in court and become the first member of the modern royal family to submit to being cross-examined over serious allegations.

David Boies, who is representing Ms Giuffre in her lawsuit against Andrew, said his client and legal team were looking forward to “confronting” the royal about his “denials”.

Judge Kaplan has requested that the testimony of all four witnesses be completed by 29 April.

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