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Prince Andrew named in Jeffrey Epstein court documents as secret files made public

Scores of names are contained in long-running, now-settled defamation lawsuit brought by Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre

Tara Cobham
Sunday 07 January 2024 17:14 GMT
Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell arrested

Prince Andrew has been named in court documents relating to the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein after a judge ordered the release of secret case files.

US Judge Loretta Preska ruled on 18 December that documents believed to relate to more than 150 people who were either associates, friends or victims of disgraced financier Epstein should be made public.

The trove includes 40 documents of evidence from Johanna Sjoberg, who has claimed the Duke of York touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside the US billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

In her 2015 testimony, Ms Sjoberg said Maxwell called her to an upstairs closet, and showed her a puppet of the prince.

Prince Andrew has been named in court documents relating to the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (REUTERS)

“I just remember someone suggesting a photo, and they told us to go get on the couch,” she recalled. “And so Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet, the puppet on her lap.

“And so then I sat on Andrew’s lap, and I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine.”

The prince has always strongly denied the allegations against him, while Buckingham Palace previously said all accusations made against the duke are “categorically untrue”.

In her deposition, Maxwell recalls Andrew visiting Epstein’s home in the US Virgin Islands once, and insisted there were “no girls” present.

One of the other exhibits unsealed on Wednesday included a 2015 email sent by Maxwell in which she appeared to reference Prince Andrew and former US president Bill Clinton.

“I have already suffered such a terrible and painful loss over the last few days that I can’t even see what life after press he’ll even looks like - statements that don’t address all just lead to more questions,” Maxwell wrote, according to the documents. “... what is my relationship to clinton ? Andrew on and on. Let’s rest till monday. I need head space.”

A picture appears to show Andrew with Ms Giuffre, who accused him of sexual abuse (US District Court - Southern Dis)

The legal files are part of a 2015 US defamation case by Virginia Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite who supplied Epstein with underage girls. Ms Giuffre appeared in an infamous photograph when she was younger, alongside Andrew and Maxwell.

Although the case was settled in 2017, Maxwell’s attorneys had fought for the names to continue to remain private. Their objection was lifted in 2022, a year after she was convicted and sentenced to two decades in prison, following arguments from representatives of the media that documents that were sealed as part of the case should be made public.

The files identify individuals whose names had been previously redacted. Judge Preska ordered some individuals should be named because they had already given interviews to the media – including Ms Sjoberg.

Those listed include “alleged victims, people not accused of wrongdoing…and absent third parties.” Being identified through the court documents does not necessarily mean that the individual was involved in or aware of any wrongdoing by Epstein.

The parties had until midnight on 1 January to object to the ruling, with only 10 people identified in the papers successfully arguing that their right to privacy as victims outweighs the public’s right to know their names.

Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with Epstein and paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to Ms Giuffre, a woman he claimed never to have met.

The legal files are part of a 2015 US defamation case by Virginia Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell (Getty/Alamy/The Independent)

The duke was cast out of the working monarchy and no longer uses his HRH style after Ms Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17. Andrew has denied the claims.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. The death was ruled a suicide.

Maxwell has been imprisoned since July 2020, despite numerous attempts from her defence counsel to have her released on bail. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison at the federal court in the Southern District of New York in June last year.

The socialite indicated her desire to appeal shortly after her conviction, with her lawyers claiming victims had “faded, distorted and motivated memories”. Her appeal is currently scheduled to be heard in November next year.

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