Virginia Giuffre and her super lawyer: the duo that can bring down Prince Andrew
Correspondent in New York
“I had to do with Andres the same thing I did with Jeffrey.” Andrew is the son of the Queen of England. Jeffrey, last name Epstein, is the friend of the English prince -and Duke of York-, a finance millionaire who took his own life in a Manhattan cell in the summer of 2019 before he went on trial for trafficking and continued sexual abuse of minors. And whoever signs those words is Virginia Giuffre, the woman who claims to have been a sexual victim of both when she was a minor.
The suicide – his family doubts that official version and defends that he was murdered to prevent him from implicating other powerful people – of Epstein left him without trial in New York, where the financier executed many of his excesses.
Yes, this fall Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of a British media tycoon, who was Epstein’s partner, did. Also his ‘madame’ of minors. For this, she was convicted by a New York jury and is now awaiting her sentence, which could be up to 65 years. She was the one who requested that Giuffre do “the same” with Prince Andrew that he already did with Epstein.
Now, the son of Elizabeth II of England could be the next to have to go through a trial on American soil. Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit last summer for everything that happened after that sentence and, for now, a New York federal judge has ruled that the trial go ahead. Justice Lewis Kaplan decided so this week, in a nightmare for the British royal family that threatens to sour the celebrations of Elizabeth’s seventy years as monarch.
Giuffre has been battling for years, in court and in the media, against those he accuses of being his abusers.
It remains to be seen whether the Duke of York will see his honor and wallet at the mercy of twelve commoners from the former colony in a civil jury trial in New York. There remains a long pre-trial battle in which Giuffre will have a powerful company: David Boies, a “super-lawyer” from Manhattan, who has historic trials in his history, such as that of presidential candidates Al Gore and George Bush for the adjusted result of the elections of 2000, great corporate wars or famous clients like Harvey Weinstein, Elizabeth Holmes or Michael Moore.
How did Giuffre, a 38-year-old Californian who lived an anonymous life in Australia a few years ago, come to put a leading member of the Windsor dynasty against the wall? She wasn’t in the books for a girl affected by misfortune since childhood. Born in Sacramento, she was sexually abused by a family friend from the age of seven, when her family had already moved to the state of Florida. She grew up in an unstructured environment and the abuse pushed her, according to her own story, to run away from home and lead a life between destitution and foster homes. At age 14, he returned to seek stability with his father, who then worked at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s residence and club in West Palm Beach. There she got a job as a spa attendant and there she met Maxwell, who convinced her, like many others, to give Epstein massages. The first time he did it, he was found naked on the stretcher and Maxwell instructed him how to treat him. That is, how to give him a sexual service.
Giuffre ended up being a fixture in the sexual environment of Epstein and Maxwell. They traveled through the billionaire’s mansions, among others, the so-called ‘pedophile island’, Little Saint James, a corner of the Virgin Islands owned by Epstein.
His services were not exclusive to Epstein. Giuffre accused the financier and Maxwell of passing it off “like a plate of fruit” to other powerful people. One of them could be Prince Andrew. According to Giuffre, he sexually abused her in London when she was 17 years old. Also in New York and in Little Saint James. Prince Andrew has always denied everything and appeared in an unfortunate BBC interview in which he assured that he did not even remember having met her. Giuffre and other witnesses offer a different picture. A photo of a smiling Andrés grabbing Giuffre by the waist, with Maxwell in the background, from that time does not support it either. The young woman ended up fleeing Epstein’s circle on a trip to Thailand where she met her current husband, an Australian and with whom she has had three children. She was not heard from until the investigations against Epstein began for abuse of other minors and her name appeared.
The embarrassment of a trial
Giuffre has offered confusing data and inconsistencies in the countless court testimonies and interviews he has given in recent years. If it comes to trial, that will be the card played by the Duke of York’s lawyers. At Giuffre’s bank, Boies will have to put together the victim’s case. It could be the last big media trial for the lawyer, who will turn 81 in March. This week, he said Giuffre is unlikely to “accept a purely financial settlement,” a way of saying that Buckingham Palace will not be spared the embarrassment of a trial just by putting up money.