Friday 20 September 2019

‘I hope Prince Andrew will come clean about Epstein’

Court hearing about sexual abuse told royal 'knows what he's done'

Legal battle: Lawyer David Boies arrives with his client Virginia Giuffre for a hearing in the case against Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Legal battle: Lawyer David Boies arrives with his client Virginia Giuffre for a hearing in the case against Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Dean Gray

An alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein who claims she was also sent to London and elsewhere for sex with Britain's Prince Andrew has challenged the British royal to speak up, saying: "He knows exactly what he's done and I hope he comes clean about it."

The jet-setting middle son of Queen Elizabeth was a years-long friend of the financier.

But the prince strenuously denies any knowledge of criminal behaviour by Epstein and has described himself as "appalled" by allegations from many women who accused Epstein of sexual abuse.

Among them is Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

She has said she was a 15-year-old working at US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club when she was recruited to perform sex acts on Epstein.

Ms Giuffre said in a sworn affidavit that she was flown on Epstein's private planes to his properties in New Mexico, the US Virgin Islands, Paris and New York, and said meetings were also arranged for sex in London and elsewhere with Prince Andrew.

Without making specific new allegations against the British royal, Ms Giuffre used a New York court appearance on Tuesday to heap more attention on Andrew's links to Epstein.

"He knows what he's done and he can attest to that," Ms Giuffre told reporters outside the courthouse after she and 15 other women testified about abuse they allege they suffered at Epstein's hands.

Pressed for additional comment, she added: "He knows exactly what he's done and I hope he comes clean about it. Thank you."

There was no mention of the prince during the court hearing itself.

Prince Andrew: The queen’s middle son admitted to meeting Epstein. Photo: Michel Euler/PA Wire
Prince Andrew: The queen’s middle son admitted to meeting Epstein. Photo: Michel Euler/PA Wire

But Ms Giuffre's comments outside were widely reported in the British media yesterday, focusing further scrutiny on the 59-year-old prince whose 10-year marriage with Sarah Ferguson ended in divorce in 1996, three years before the prince says he first met Epstein.

In a statement, the prince - who served in the royal navy and worked in an ambassadorial role promoting Britain for investment - said he saw Epstein "probably no more than only once or twice a year. I have stayed in a number of his residences".

A photo in court records shows Andrew with his arm around Ms Giuffre's waist. She claims she first met the prince when she was 17.

Ms Giuffre has targeted similar allegations of abuse against a long list of rich and powerful men, including a former US senator, a former US governor, a modelling agent and American lawyer Alan Dershowitz, with whom she was involved in a years-long legal battle.

All of the men have denied the allegations and claimed she is making them up.

Outside the three-hour court hearing in New York, where Epstein's alleged victims poured out their anger, Ms Giuffre said: "We need to get to the bottom of everybody who is involved."

"I was recruited at a very young age from Mar-a-Lago and entrapped in a world that I didn't understand and I've been fighting that very world to this day and I won't stop fighting," she vowed.

"I will never be silenced until these people are brought to justice."

Brad Edwards, a lawyer representing Epstein accusers, said he would welcome Andrew's help in trying to seek justice for the women.

"I personally extended that invitation to Prince Andrew multiple times. Anytime, we are ready and we have a lot of questions for him," he said.

"We have specific pointed questions and if he really wants to help, then we want his help."

In his written statement, Andrew said: "At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction."

That referred to Epstein's 2008 conviction after pleading guilty to prostitution-related state charges.

Epstein served 13 months behind bars.

In his statement, Andrew acknowledged that he also met Epstein after his release in 2010, but said it was a "mistake".

Epstein (66) was found dead at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre on August 10, while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges involving dozens of teenage girls.

Irish Independent

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