Virginia Giuffre’s 2009 settlement with Jeffrey Epstein was just unsealed

Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts **FILE PHOTOS**

Prince Andrew’s lawyers asked Judge Kaplan to unseal some documents in a 2009 settlement agreement. The request to unseal documents was part of a pre-trial motion in Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against Andrew. It took a minute, but the judge agreed to unseal the settlement agreement between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre. In case anyone needs this underlined, Virginia has spent the better part of the past 15 years trying to get justice for herself and other trafficking victims. She’s fought in court, she’s dealt with the federal authorities blocking her, and she’s absolutely trying to sue her way to justice. In 2009, Virginia sued Epstein and he quickly settled with her as long as he didn’t have to admit anything in court:

A 2009 settlement agreement between sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Roberts Giuffre — the woman who accused him of sexual abuse and of trafficking her to Prince Andrew and other men — was unsealed Monday. It shows that Epstein paid Giuffre $500,000 to drop the case without any admission of liability or fault.

The document was unsealed as part of Giuffre’s separate lawsuit against Prince Andrew. She alleges that Epstein trafficked her and forced her to have sex with his friends — including the prince — and that Andrew was aware she was underage (17) in the US. Prince Andrew has denied the allegations.

Attorneys for Andrew argued in his motion to dismiss Giuffre’s case against him in October that her lawsuit violates the terms of the settlement agreement with Epstein, in which she agreed to a “general release” of claims against Epstein and others.

In the copy unsealed Monday, Andrew’s name does not explicitly appear as a party. The agreement says it serves to “remise, release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge” parties and “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant” but does not explicitly name any others in the document viewed by CNN. Two other documents were filed along with the settlement agreement, including a “Stipulation of Dismissal” and a complaint from Epstein — both of which are still under seal.

The agreement states that it is a “final resolution” of a disputed claim filed in Florida and is intended to avoid litigation but “shall not be construed to be an admission of liability or fault by any party.” The agreement states that it is not to be used in civil or criminal proceedings against Epstein. It was signed by Giuffre and Epstein on different dates in November 2009.

Giuffre’s attorney David Boies issued a statement saying the settlement is “irrelevant” to her claim against the prince. “The release does not mention Prince Andrew. He did not even know about it,” Boies said. “He could not have been a ‘potential defendant’ in the settled case against Jeffrey Epstein both because he was not subject to jurisdiction in Florida and because the Florida case involved federal claims to which he was not a part. The actual parties to the release have made clear that Prince Andrew was not covered by it. Lastly, the reason we sought to have the release made public was to refute the claims being made about it by Prince Andrew’s PR campaign.”

[From CNN]

Yes, it was never clear why Andrew’s lawyers thought this sealed settlement was going to be the smoking gun. It was always very clear that Epstein had asked for the agreement to be put under seal because he, obviously, didn’t want anyone to know the details of his human trafficking and pedophilia organization. If Virginia had her way, everything would have been made public – that’s why she’s been fighting this war for years.

The legal strategy from Andrew makes zero sense here – Epstein wanted to keep the names of his “friends” out of the settlement record. Andrew is hurting his own case by raising his hand and saying “no, Epstein was talking about me, I was one of his friends who raped Virginia and other women, I should be protected by this settlement agreement!” Self-incrimination, thy name is Andy.

Panorama, The Prince and the Epstein Scandal

Duke of Edinburgh death

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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65 Responses to “Virginia Giuffre’s 2009 settlement with Jeffrey Epstein was just unsealed”

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  1. Roserose says:

    This strategy makes no sense and makes him look guilty as hell.

    • superashes says:

      Eh, I think the legal strategy makes sense but also makes him look guilty as hell. I hate to say it, but legally speaking, I’m not sure how she gets around the agreement as barring the current claim given its breadth.

      • Kacy says:

        My understanding is that the federal district court for NY already said that this case can proceed and limited the existing settlement to claims for the district that Florida rolls into. I guess he’s hoping a judge will reverse that.

      • superashes says:

        That would be good news, I wonder why Andrew’s team thinks it is a good idea to release this info now, if they already lost on the issue. So bizarre.

  2. Sofia says:

    So his defence is “I have no idea who Virginia is, I was at Pizza Express when she says I raped her but if I did rape her, this agreement from my pedophile buddy Jeffrey Epstein stops me from suing her!”

    • The Hench says:

      It would be comical if it wasn’t so engragingly awful. He’s said that he “can’t remember” ever meeting her, has no explanation for the photo of him actually with her, can provide no proof of being at Pizza Express even though he would have been there with at the very least protection officers and his own daughters (since he claims it was for Bea’s birthday) and can also provide no medical back up for his “can’t sweat” claim. Meanwhile his lawyers are pursuing a strategy which is all about getting the case thrown out on some technical grounds and most definitively NOT a strategy which is based on him just not having done the thing he is being accused of. And, cherry on top, as Kaiser points out at the end of this piece, relying on Andrew being included as an Eptein associate within this 2009 settlement confirms he definitely thinks he should be counted as one.

      So far his legal strategy seems to be as convincing of his innocence as his interview.

      • Lemons says:

        I cannot even understand why, even legally speaking, they would request the settlement be unsealed on the grounds that he may be mentioned in some way and be protected against further legal action…

        Is he still using the Queen’s legal team because if so, it shows. They seem to only know how to hide money and negotiate loopholes for their properties and employment contracts.

      • HeyJude says:

        What a bad alibi, even royals take birthday party photos surely. I know I’ve seen them of the Windsor boys before.

        If he was at the pizza place a photograph would be easy to produce. Or even simply an employee at the time’s testimony. They would certainly remember which royals came to their establishment for a royal birthday party.

    • Mac says:

      Every technicality he reaches for makes him look more guilty. They need to drop him off at one of the queen’s private properties and tell him to never show his face in public again

    • Sofia says:

      Whoops. I meant “stops her from suing me” and not the other way around.

  3. Lauren Too says:

    He really should do another interview.

  4. Kiera says:

    They’re trying to use the fact that she was paid $500,000 as a way to show that she is only after money from him. They also supposedly are going to bring in one of the women who testified at Maxwell’s trial as she says that she was originally approached by Virginie and that’s how she wound up involved with Epstein.

    What they are hoping is that they can paint a picture of a money grubbing slut who can’t be trusted. Too bad for them pretty much everyone knows what was really happening and are now wise to the tactics Epstein was using to silence people.

    They are getting desperate and Andrew should settle and take the loss. But I think he is afraid if he settles it will be admitting guilt and he will forever be persona non grata with the royals, at least publicly. Although I think Charles actually dislikes him now maybe one the Queen is gone privately as well.

    • The Hench says:

      I can’t work out why the hell he doesn’t just settle. Then I thought maybe, since he has assured Mummy Dearest of his innocence, he can’t go back to her for the settlement money and he doesn’t have it himself so here we are.

      • Sofia says:

        I think it’s because Virginia doesn’t want to settle and/or Andrew doesn’t or has been told not to because it would show (in public opinion at least) that he’s guilty.

      • The Hench says:

        @Sofia – yes, I think you’re right that this was their position to start with but then Andrew cantered out with the world’s worst interview defence – one that he can’t even provide the simplest back up for now – and the general public feeling is that he IS guilty so now they just need to make this go away. It’s going to be really interesting if this latest strategy doesn’t work and Virginia won’t agree to settle – I should think PA’s lawyers are doing a LOT of sweating of their own at the idea of Andrew on the stand in court.

    • superashes says:

      I’m with you. On the one hand, I do think this settlement agreement is a big problem for Virginia’s case. On the other hand, if the idea was he wouldn’t settle with her because it could be perceived as an admission of guilt … well, this defensive strategy is pretty much the exact same thing.

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      This the “money grubbing slut” defense. Even if it were true (and she was underage so F$*$ him), it doesn’t make what he did okay.

      The days of being able to smear an underage victim as an auto defense are not exactly in the past, but it’s also not a slam dunk.

      • HeyJude says:

        EXACTLY! This isn’t an actual defense, it’s more damning evidence of crimes against them.

        They made a 17-year-old child into a pimp after pimping her out. That doesn’t absolve their responsibility it adds to the list of crimes he should answer for.

  5. Beth says:

    I’m pretty sure the actual intention is to sour public opinion on Virginia by saying that she’s just after money. His lawyers probably just want her name linked to the half a million.

    • Becks1 says:

      I think this could be part of the strategy but I was reading comments on WaPo yesterday about this and the comments seemed to be one of three things:

      1) well, this destroys her case, unfortunately
      2) I hope she gets justice, and
      3) 500k? that’s it? That’s all Epstein was willing to pay her?

      1) is probably not true, but at least there was a sense of regret about it for the most part, 2) is a nice sentiment obviously and 3)….well people were focusing on the money but it didnt seem to be the way that Andrew wanted.

      • LaraW” says:

        1) is only valid if you take a plain reading of the settlement agreement, which is what Andrew’s lawyers are arguing for. But the language is so impossibly broad with respect to the definition of “potential defendant” that there’s a very good argument that a plain reading is not appropriate. The text literally defines “other potential defendant” as “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant.”

        Theoretically—taking the absolute broadest reading of the text—you, me, my mother, and Kate Middleton could have been named as “potential defendants,” even if we have nothing to do with the action alleged in the lawsuit at all since technically, anyone can be named as a “potential defendant” by anyone for anything (obviously whether the claim is valid is another question entirely). So the settlement agreement isn’t the be-all-end-all for Andrew and it’s actually pretty interesting.

    • MY3CENTS says:

      I actually think that half a million is on the low
      side. I could easily seeing her suing him today and getting a two digit million number, with the public opinion and all we know today half a million is pretty low.

      • The Hench says:

        Yeah, I was in the same place. Maybe I’m naive but I expected the number, for such a blanket pardon (every associate/for all time), to be in the millions.

        Also – some weird wording on it. What was that “from the beginning of the world” stuff?? Looking forward to the legal eagle celebitches weighing in.

      • LaraW” says:

        Lol, “beginning of the world” is just lawyers lawyering. Generic language to make sure the relevant time period is covered. “Beginning of time” is also common.

        May not make sense in the context of an individual, but makes slightly more sense for a company or a country.

      • The Hench says:

        Ha – thank you @LaraW” – good to know. Every day a school day for me!

    • superashes says:

      I agree with Becks and My3Cents, if anything, the Epstein settlement engenders sympathy since after all the trauma all she received was $500k from such an immensely wealthy and absolute piece of shit.

      My 2 cents are that I think Prince Andrew knows an actual trial is going to damage his reputation so much more than what has occurred so far, and so he is throwing a hail mary pass to try to get out of this case on a summary judgment motion using this agreement since, in the long run, it is going to be less damaging to him than having a slew of witnesses called, which would include Virginia and him, and if he is not subject to any potential criminal liability he can’t plead the 5th in a civil action, so he is then stuck with the option of telling the truth or perjuring himself (which would subject him to criminal liability).

  6. Becks1 says:

    I don’t think this will make an impact on the case, and I think its a messy argument from Andrew – he is protected by this settlement agreement because he was an associate of Epstein’s and he could have been named as a possible defendant so therefore Virginia can’t sue him? Even if there is validity to the legal argument (I don’t know), its a really messy PR argument.

  7. Watson says:

    This woman needs justice. She deserves it.

  8. Jais says:

    The whole thing is so mind-boggling. Andrew still thinks he’s just going to waltz back into royal public life one day. And maybe he will?
    This settlement is confusing bc a part seems to say that Virginia in the future cannot prosecute any human ever. Am I reading that right? Bc I think that’s what it says and that’s stupid.

  9. Sarah says:

    This is NOT how it’s being reported here in the UK. So far all I’ve heard is that from this settlement she has an agreement that she wouldn’t sue anyone else. It’s being presented as a very black and white argument.

    • Becks1 says:

      A lot of the US outlets are reporting it that way too. And I’m not really surprised, its a legal document and if the news outlets aren’t using lawyers to review it and give their take (US lawyers for the UK outlets) then they aren’t going to really have an appropriate legal view on it. But I’m also not surprised that the UK press is taking a black and white view on this situation, probably hoping it gets Andrew out of this without having to admit anything.

      • Lizzie Bathory says:

        I really think the US & UK press is going to cover this like they covered Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial–that is, with a sensationalist focus that doesn’t match the legal reality. I don’t think this settlement agreement will protect Andrew, nor do I think its attempt to shield other “potential defendants” will hold up to scrutiny today. The media coverage might just slow walk Andrew into losing this lawsuit.

      • LaraW” says:

        @Becks and Lizzie:

        If a judge told you, at the end of oral argument, that they “appreciate the arguments and the passion,” what would you conclude? Because to me, that sounds a lot like “you did your best— here’s a gold star for effort.” 😆

  10. Lily says:

    Wow. Prince Sweatgland’s best defence is admitting he is one if them?! I hope this can be used as further evidence against him. And I guess it means he’s run out of excuses.

    And no, clearly Virginia was not going for a cash grab because half a mil is peanuts, for both Epstein and for being trafficked for sex. The reality is, monetary compensation is never a cash grab but an actual form of justice through reparation. That’s the justice system.

  11. MsIam says:

    I guess its time for Fergie to pop up and claim what a “wonderful” man and father Prince Douche Bag is again. He can’t even get the Rota Rats to defend him. Time for him to pay Virginia and slink off to exile, but I wonder if he’s trying to fight this because he’s afraid it will open the floodgates for the other women he assaulted.

    • nutella toast says:

      It’s nearly impossible that Virginia was his only victim. It’s not “one-off” behavior. It just isn’t. If he pays her (and he should), he’ll have more lawsuits on his hands. She’s the first to stand up to the firing line and have some courage to take on the entire royal institution – I promise you there are more survivors waiting to see what happens

  12. Slippers4life says:

    I agree with others. I don’t think this is about winning or losing. I think they are so dense and so “trapped” in that BS world that is British royalty that they are doing the ol’ media smear campaign so that she gets scared and backs off because she’s just a “poor servant girl who went and got herself into a bit of bother”, and Andrew is a “regal Prince”. They actually all still live in this deluded world, including Andrew, especially Andrew! I can only imagine how entitled and archaic he is in these lawyer/client advisory meetings. He probably thinks the lawyers are also “mere servants” who should kiss his ring. Oh man I hope Virginia gets justice!

  13. Willow says:

    A 500k settlement for no admission of guilt or liability?? In 2009? I’m guessing Virginia had different lawyers then, because that doesn’t sound like much at all. Actually makes Andrew and his lawyers look like bullies, with all the nasty things they have been saying about her.

    • thaisajs says:

      Right? She only got $500k? What kind of crappy lawyers did she have back then? She could and should have gotten a lot more. If the royal family had offered her $5M to settle wouldn’t it have been worth it at this point? I hope she gets a massive settlement here.

  14. Blujfly says:

    It is an incredibly broad release and it may not be good for Virginia’s case against Andrew. But both sets of lawyers had access to it before it was released to the public, so they have had time to prepare their arguments for and against.

    $500,000 was peanuts.

    • superashes says:

      If it was sealed, only Virginia’s team would have had access. The only way for Andrew’s team to get access would be through a court order unsealing the document.

  15. Jules says:

    Let’s hope that whatever devious plan he has, it backfires gloriously. Sounds like his is making more bad decisions in his desperation.

  16. Athena says:

    I think $500k is low also, but now Andrew knows the settlement amount and may have a better idea what to offer. He could say he settled because this was taking a toll on his elderly mother and his family and that it’s cost effective to settle than continue to pay legal fees. The money that was going to attorneys could be used to buy him an estate with working farms or a commercial building so he has a source of income. He can have a private life. No more balcony appearances, no carriage rides, no royal patron positions, no sneaking up to the mike for public attention.

    • LaraW” says:

      He already knew it was $500K — sealed documents are not visible to the public, but they’re known to both parties. Also he didn’t have to unseal it to offer a settlement figure to Virginia.

      • superashes says:

        A sealed document is only available to the parties in the case in which the document was sealed, and cannot be distributed, and Andrew wasn’t a party to the case against Epstein. The only way for Andrew to actually get the document would be through a court order that unsealed it.

      • LaraW” says:

        Virginia already gave the document to Andrew’s counsel. Andrew’s counsel filed it as an exhibit to their Motion to Dismiss back in October and requested the court take judicial notice.

    • t'otter says:

      The time when Andrew could have settled has passed.

  17. Blujfly says:

    The Court had already given Andrew’s attorneys access to it. It would be deeply unfair for only one side to have a document that the other side says releases them from claims. Andrew’s whole argument is that he is in fact a releasee. The media is using unsealed to mean made public.

  18. ArticCircle says:

    The RF has to take this guy to the train station ! Stat !

  19. WithTheAmerican says:

    It’s a legal argument and a PR argument, using the old she’s a money grubbing w$*re GOOJF smear and frankly makes me despise him even more than I already did. It’s like they’re all stuck in the 80s.

    His legal argument is that he was one of the buddies covered by en Epstein release about raping underage girls. Not sure that’s landing as he thought it would.

  20. Katie says:

    I did not realize David Boies is Giuffre’s attorney. It’s so interesting that one of the bully baddies in the Elizabeth Holmes story is fighting for the victim here.

    • Becks1 says:

      I hated him so much when I was reading “Bad Blood” but now I’m like, you go David Boies, lol.

    • A says:

      Eh, that’s what the legal system is for right. You actually want your defendants to get the best possible lawyers bc that’s how you ensure that justice, actual justice, is being served. So that when criminals get convicted, they are convicted beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  21. Jay says:

    Maybe Andrew could ask his friend Ghislaine Maxwell to vouch for him as an associate of Epstein’s who deserves to be included in this agreement. You know, before she goes to jail.

  22. WhoElse says:

    Reading now that the agreement specifically states that the only parties covered by the agreement are Guiffre and Epstein. Per the Daily Beast:

    “However the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, then actively pointed Boies towards a section of the 12-page agreement which specified that Epstein and Giuffre agreed “that the terms of this Settlement Agreement are not intended to be used by any other person,” asking him what he thought was the “significance” of the words.

    The judge asked Boies: “What effect might that have on the defendants assertion that this release construed his way is usable by him in this case?”
    Boies, who later apologized for his “slowness” in catching the judge’s drift, got distracted by a discussion about defining first and second parties, prompting the judge himself to spell it out, saying: “The defendant is ‘any other person’. [Prince Andrew] is within the category of persons who are not entitled to use the terms of the settlement.”

    Boise said: “What the court is saying is that the parties explicitly, by the very terms of the settlement, preclude…”

    The judge said, “Use by a third party.””

    Done and done. One, this Boies guy is a TERRIBLE lawyer. He’s had the agreement this whole time and apparently didn’t read through it, leaving the judge to coach him into the right argument. Guiffre needs to find someone sharper to lead her case. Two, Andrew will lose this case.

  23. MangoAngelesque says:

    “Old Jeffrey boy promised me I wouldn’t get in trouble for raping that trafficked teenager! He PROMISED! It’s violently unfair that he’d go back on his word!”

  24. Jaded says:

    The key thing here is that Virginia did NOT claim Andrew was “people who were doing the trafficking,” but rather was “someone to whom girls were trafficked.” Despite Boies dropping the ball on specifically who the parties covered by the agreement are (Guiffre and Epstein), Andrew is still f*cked without a kiss.

  25. A says:

    I thought people knew about this? Isn’t this part of the sweetheart deal that was reached at some point, or is that something different?

    • Becks1 says:

      People knew that she had signed a deal with Epstein, but not the terms of it. Those were just released to the public this week. She also had a separate deal with Maxwell that I think has been public for a while now.

  26. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    My second “Veep” quote of the day:

    “You did such important work together . . . in the field of . . . ”

    [ human trafficking ]

    “. . . . Import-Export.”

    “Veep” was always so apropos to the Trump administration, but I’m finding it more and more relevant to the British royal family as well.

  27. bisynaptic says:

    how is it possible to be this stupid.

  28. Becks1 says:

    Lisa Bloom on Twitter has a GREAT thread about the arguments in this case yesterday.

    One of Andrew’s team’s arguments is that the whole statute giving victims more time to sue is unconstitutional (so Virginia’s lawsuit should be thrown out on those grounds), which can very easily be turned into the anti-Andrew PR argument of “Prince Andrew doesn’t want victims of sexual assault to come forward.” Lisa Bloom twisted it into “does the queen know that he is doing this?” and she didn’t have to turn herself into a pretzel to get there.

    Like someone mentioned above, the judge led Boies to the line in the contract about how this settlement did not apply to any other persons, so it really seems like the judge is already prepared to rule against the MTD (at least one the grounds of this settlement.)

    And there were a few other good points she brought up as she was listening to the hearing that haven’t been mentioned here. Basically I felt a lot better after reading her thoughts, and I didn’t think this settlement was the end of her case anyway.