The Mail on Sunday had a little preview of this, and that was on purpose. Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s lawyer, the famed attorney David Boies, had purposefully given the British media a little bit of a preview of coming attractions. On Monday afternoon/evening, it happened: Roberts Giuffre filed a lawsuit against His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York:
An alleged victim of deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew of Britain on Monday, accusing the embattled 61-year-old royal of sexually abusing her at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion and elsewhere when she was under the age of 18, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit, filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre in federal court in New York, comes almost two years to the day that Epstein died in a New York jail while he was awaiting trial on conspiracy and child sex trafficking charges. The legal action also comes just days before the expiration date of a New York state law that permits alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil claims that might otherwise be barred by statutes of limitations.
“If she doesn’t do it now, she would be allowing him to escape any accountability for his actions,” Giuffre’s attorney, David Boies, chairman of Boies, Schiller Flexner, told ABC News. “And Virginia is committed to trying to avoid situations where rich and powerful people escape any accountability for their actions.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and accuses Andrew of sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. “Twenty years ago, Prince Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her. It is long past the time for him to be held to account,” the lawsuit states.
Reached late Monday, a U.K.-based spokesperson for Prince Andrew said there would be no comment on the suit.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice,” Giuffre said, via her lawyers, in a statement to ABC News. “I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first. I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates. But I knew that if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down,” the statement said.
ABC News also reports that Boies and Virginia’s other lawyers have made “multiple attempts” to speak to Prince Andrew and engage in discussions so as to avoid litigation. Boies told ABC that he’s been in contact with Prince Andrew’s lawyers since 2015 and Boies made a good-faith effort to avoid dropping a lawsuit on Andrew. Andrew’s lawyers have been stonewalling Virginia for years, in addition to stonewalling the US attorney in charge of Ghislaine Maxwell’s case, which moves forward to trial in November.
The Daily Mail did some coverage of whether or not Andrew has diplomatic immunity – he does not – but they note that no one is trying to extradite him to America either. Which is true, federal authorities would not seek an extradition order over a civil lawsuit, nor will they seek to extradite over the issue of Andrew’s need to give an interview – and perhaps testimony – in Ghislaine’s case. The only way American authorities could or would conceivably move to extradite Andrew is if Maxwell’s trial or Virginia’s lawsuit revealed new evidence of criminality by Andrew and he was criminally charged with something. The Mail also says much of what I said yesterday – that Andrew probably won’t travel outside of British borders for the rest of his life and he absolutely will not travel to America ever again.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, BBC and ABC.