What Prince Andrew faces if Virginia Roberts Guiffre files civil action against him this week
It is a political and societal irony of great proportion that a law on child victims signed by Andrew Cuomo of New York – himself accused by 11 women of unwanted sexual advances, one of whom has just filed a complaint criminal against him – would have an effect on the legal status of Prince Andrew in his dispute with his main accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre. But on Valentine’s Day 2019, Cuomo enacted the far-reaching Child Victims Act of the New York Assembly, which strengthened the rights of child victims of sexual abuse, including an expansion of the rights of children. victims to bring civil suits against their attackers in New York State. .
In August 2020, in the aftermath of the pandemic, the New York Assembly drafted and Cuomo enacted into law an extension of what is known as the Child Victims Act’s “window to turn back”. This 2020 law extended the deadline for victims to file civil lawsuits in certain historic cases of child sexual abuse until August 14, 2021.
These two pieces of legislation have not gone unnoticed in the offices of legendary litigation lawyer David Boies, who represents Prince Andrew’s accuser among Epstein’s many victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, nor have they gone unnoticed in England. Conclusion: As the August 14 deadline approaches, reporters at the London tabloid Mail on Sunday, who have been diligent in reporting every minute and round about the increasingly disturbing questions Andrew faces in relation to his decades-long friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, called Mr Boies to ask him what he thought of the his client Ms Giuffre intends to file a lawsuit against Prince Andrew this week.
Noting that the August 14 deadline meant his client might not be able to prosecute Prince Andrew at all, Boies told reporters: “To use a phrase commonly used here in the United States, ‘Time is up.'”
As one would expect from Mr Boies, the pithy quote has some legal weight behind it. More pointed and significant for Prince Andrew is the letter that Boies admitted to having returned for some time to the prince’s lawyers. As of August 6, according to Boies, this letter has gone unanswered. It seems to be in the prince’s best interests to prepare some sort of response. Because: The Boies letter offered Andrew’s legal team the opportunity to enter into what is known as a toll deal, an agreement between the two parties in a potential lawsuit to override any time limits on the potential lawsuit in order to that the parties can have time to negotiate a settlement, rather than proceeding to trial – in public – with the costume on.
In other words, the costume has been in the works for quite some time. In short, what Boies and Giuffre offered Andrew in this letter was an opportunity for a much more discreet solution in civil matters.
But, as the Prince’s dragging his feet so far to respond to Boies’ letter seems to indicate, Prince Andrew might not see the offer of a toll deal in such a positive light. First, Andrew is nothing but a man with a certain, admittedly high, idea of himself. Indeed, it was this idea of himself that led him to believe that he was somehow putting an end to Giuffre’s accusations by giving his disastrous interview to the BBC. Whether wielded by an already convicted criminal and serial abuser like Jeffrey Epstein, his former girlfriend and accused guardian, Ghislaine Maxwell, or their mutual friend Prince Andrew, pride comes in many forms. Nonetheless, Andrew’s denials of ever having met, much less well-known, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, have remained firm.
Ergo, the many thorny legal drawbacks for the prince can be read as follows: If he, Andrew, makes the proposed toll deal with Roberts Giuffre, he admits by default that there is at least something worth negotiating. at his request. This would lend, from Andrew’s point of view, an unwanted substance to Giuffre, and it is precisely this legitimacy that the prince, in his vehement denials of his accusations, has endeavored to hide from him. Indeed, a toll deal to negotiate with his accuser also means he goes back on his fierce denials of his accusations, thus giving more impetus to demands by criminal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York to “come in” and speak. on what he knows about his old friend Epstein’s supply operation. In a nutshell, negotiations with Virgina Roberts Giuffre open up a host of ugly doors that Andrew would prefer to keep closed.
In other words, living up to his reputation as a fierce litigator, David Boies recognized early enough the importance of the August 14 deadline in the Child Victims Act retrospective window and therefore made the offer to the Andrew’s legal team on behalf of his client: We may proceed with the prosecution or proceed to negotiate a settlement.
The threat of civil action no doubt surprises Andrew and his team. His position to date and his team’s intermittent negotiations with federal prosecutors in Ghislaine Maxwell’s Southern District of New York have been more specifically designed to fend off any possible criminal prosecution, while also giving the prince the appearance of being willing to to cooperate with his prosecutors and at the same time allow the prince to stage his withdrawal from public life quite comfortably among the horses and dogs of the Royal Box at Windsor. Like some of the postures in the 60s Twister ground game, Andrew’s is a pretty unsightly stretch that takes a lot of effort to maintain.
He has known Ghislaine Maxwell at many stages of his life, from her very early days on the British social scene as a brilliant young heiress, to her last incarnation as Epstein’s fixer. And, she knew Andrew. This would be a logical element in Andrew’s reluctance to open the door to cooperation with Ghislaine Maxwell’s prosecutors: it’s not just about the possibility that he is criminalizing himself across the pond at New York, although it is also that. Among any serious group of courtiers and legal advisers to the prince, there would also be an innate distrust of the mouth of the fierce defense of Ms Maxwell chewing on Andrew and others, quite publicly in pieces during her trial.
Mrs. Maxwell is trying to get out of jail. Prince Andrew and others in Epstein’s orbit are trying to stay out of jail, or at least under threat of criminal prosecution. They are two very different projects, and they do not necessarily go together, which is why Andrew and others registered and accustomed to the little black book of Epstein are right to fear that Ghislaine Maxwell may, under the march of his trial, start talking.
For these reasons, the civil suit comes at a bad time for Andrew. A civil lawsuit, with its promise of depositions (from Andrew) and its accompanying trial can be a kind of waking nightmare for any defendant. For a British royal, face the prospect of Virginia Roberts Giuffre on the witness stand and perhaps have an American judge assess the financial damage – in this case, if any, arguably in the millions. – is about as ugly a prospect as it gets. be had. The damage to the Crown and to the reputation of the British Royal Family would be almost incalculable, not to mention the major gash in Andrew’s pocket. Plus, it would mean that what we may call the bedroom minutiae of Andrew’s social life in the August, when this alleged abuse of then-minor Virginia Roberts must have taken place, would be irretrievably presented to the public. .
Much of this graphic detail is already present in Ms Giuffre’s statements, but under oath, in a (civil) trial, it could be presented in a much heavier, and possibly criminal, light. Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York have withdrawn Ghislaine Maxwell’s current perjury charge from her testimony in the Roberts Guiffre defamation lawsuit. In this way, we can say that Andrew’s general legal situation, both civil and criminal, has stripped him of his royal status, and she threatens again, with each passing day.
In her own depositions in her 2016 civil action against Andrew’s good friend Ghislaine Maxwell for libel, Virginia Roberts Giuffre was quite courageous and extremely direct in not excluding any detail of her many years of abuse by Epstein and Maxwell in Epstein’s apparatus. That level of candor is what Andrew would theoretically face in court, whether he was physically present or not, if Ms Giuffre chose to take legal action this week.
According to lawyer Boies, the subject of the lawsuit is based on accusations of sexual abuse of Ms. Giuffre by Andrew before the (American) age of consent. It’s fair to say that Andrew should at least be aware of his legal vulnerability in this regard. If he decided not to respond, the lawsuit could, and probably would, proceed in New York City in the most aggressive fashion without his participation. If he is found guilty, in absentia or not, he will always be liable for damages.
Bottom line: Mr Boies has managed to put Britain’s most reclusive prince in a corner. In the tense and lofty battle to save himself and his freedom of movement, now is Andrew’s move.