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Does a 2009 deal declassified on Monday protect Prince Andrew?

These three words will be closely scrutinized. American justice released Monday a financial agreement sealed in 2009 between Jeffrey Epstein and his accuser Virginia Giuffre, which contains a clause to protect any “other potential accused” from prosecution. On Tuesday, Prince Andrew’s lawyers will try to convince a New York judge that Virginia Giuffre’s civil complaint against the Duke of York for “sexual assault” is not admissible under these terms.

Under the deal, Jeffrey Epstein paid Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts) $ 500,000 to end a sex crime lawsuit without admitting guilt. It also contains a clause protecting “any other person or entity that could have been included as a potential accused”.

Tuesday hearing

At 10:00 a.m. (4:00 p.m. KST) Tuesday, a videoconference hearing will be held between Manhattan Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan and lawyers for both sides to see if the complaint should be dismissed. Among the questions that the judge will have to decide: does the agreement apply only to the criminal, or also to the civil, and does it concern only the justice of Florida and not that of New York.

The judge has already rejected on December 31 another nullity request made by Andrew, on the grounds that Virginia Giuffre could not sue in the United States because she “resides” in Australia.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s shadow of guilt

Virginia Roberts claims to have been exploited as a “sex slave” by Jeffrey Epstein, and to have been coerced into sex with several “powerful men” when she was 17, including Prince Andrew and French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel – indicted in France for rape following Giuffre’s testimony.

Aged 38, she claims in her complaint in New York to have been “sexually assaulted” by Andrew on three occasions: in London at Ghislaine Maxwell, at Epstein’s home in Manhattan and on his island of Little Saint-James. The Duke of York, who fiercely denies, was forced to retire from public life after a disastrous interview with the BBC in late 2019.

For her part, Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s ex-companion, was convicted on December 29 in New York of sex trafficking of minors, which could complicate Prince Andrew’s defense, even if Virginia Giuffre was not among the plaintiffs. . If all of Prince Andrew’s remedies fail, a civil trial could be held “between September and December” 2022, Judge Kaplan suggested in the fall.

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