Epstein settlement ‘shielding’ Prince Andrew should be public, judge says

A secret 2008 settlement that a lawyer for Britain’s Prince Andrew says would protect him against a lawsuit claiming he sexually abused an American when she was 17 should be made public, a judge said on Tuesday.

The agreement was reached between Virginia Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial in New York City.

Giuffre was among many women who said Epstein sexually abused them when they were underage.

The attorney Andrew Brettler has argued that the deal also shields Andrew from a separate claim brought against the prince by Giuffre this year.

In a brief order issued on Tuesday, the US district judge Loretta Preska said that without any valid objection by Epstein’s estate, the document should be made public on or before 22 December as part of Andrew’s case.

Preska said the court questioned “whether any proper purpose would be served by the continued secrecy of the document save, perhaps, the dollar amount the settlement provided it for”.

In the August lawsuit, Virginia Giuffre claims that the prince abused her on multiple occasions in 2001. Andrew has said he never had sex with her and has repeatedly denied all allegations of abuse.

Brettler has previously called the lawsuit “baseless”.

Epstein’s former girlfriend and companion Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell, is currently on trial in New York, accused of trafficking underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse. Maxwell denies all the charges against her. She has been held in custody in Manhattan since her arrest in New Hampshire last year.

Giuffre has previously sued Maxwell, accusing her of abuse, but Giuffre is not appearing at the ongoing trial.

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