Prince Andrew settles lawsuit with sexual assault accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre

Maria Puente
USA TODAY

Prince Andrew and his accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre have settled the sex abuse lawsuit she filed against him, which has damaged his reputation beyond repair and threatened to overshadow his mother Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebrations this summer.

Lawyers for both sides filed documents Tuesday in federal court in New York, declaring the parties had reached an out-of-court settlement for an undisclosed sum and a "substantial donation" to Giuffre's charity "in support of victim's rights."

The Duke of York, 61, also expressed regret for his former friendship with convicted American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who Giuffre alleged had trafficked her to Andrew when she was 17.

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Prince Andrew has reached a legal settlement with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who says she was sexually trafficked to the British royal when she was 17.

Since she began accusing him publicly in 2015, Andrew has vigorously denied her allegations.

"Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks," according to one of the documents filed in court.

"Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others. He pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims."

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Virginia Roberts Giuffre, with her lawyer David Boies in New York in 2019, has reached a settlement in her lawsuit against Prince Andrew.

In a separate joint letter from both teams of attorneys, Giuffre's New York lawyer, David Boies, advised U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that the parties had reached a settlement. It still has to be approved by the judge.  

"The parties anticipate filing a stipulation of dismissal of the case within thirty (30) days," the letter said.

"A 'settlement in principle' needs to be ratified by court order and until we see that, I would not hold your breath too deeply as all the i’s need to be dotted and the t’s crossed," Nick Goldstone, a London lawyer with the international firm Ince who has been following the case, told USA TODAY. 

Still, he said it was a "good day" and a "huge relief" for the royal family.

"In terms of 'the court of public opinion,' this looks like an admission of bad conduct on the part of Andrew and I suspect he will remain 'off-stage' from the royal family for the rest of his life," Goldstone said. 

USA TODAY reached out to Andrew's Los Angeles lawyer, Andrew Brettler, for a comment. 

Depositions in the case had been set for the spring and a trial for the fall. Now all of that, with the possibility of more embarrassing revelations, will not happen.

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Prince Andrew, seen here at a 2019 ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bruges in Belgium, lost his military associations and patronages amid the lawsuit.

Andrew, the queen's second son, had already stepped back from his senior royal role in 2019, and was stripped by the queen of his military and charitable associations last month. 

"What appears to have truly motivated him has been his loss of honorary titles and royal associations," Goldstone said. " Also, of course, the prospect of being deposed (under) oath." 

The Giuffre lawsuit, which she filed last summer, promised months of bad headlines just as Britain prepared to mark the queen's 70 years on the throne with a four-day jubilee in June. 

Boies told USA TODAY last month that a settlement was not off the table but stressed that Giuffre, 38, who has filed multiple lawsuits over the years in connection with Epstein, wanted to be "vindicated" in her allegations against Andrew. 

"What is important to Virginia Giuffre is vindication, which she can get through a trial but also through an appropriate settlement," Boies said. "If it's possible to get an appropriate resolution that vindicates her, we’ll do it." 

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Giuffre, an American who now lives in Australia, has long alleged that she was trafficked to Andrew by Epstein three times in London, New York and the Virgin Islands around 2001 when she was a teenager, and that Andrew knew it at the time. 

Andrew, in a 2019 BBC interview that went off the rails, reiterated his denials, saying among other things that he did not remember meeting Giuffre, despite a picture of them together circulating on the internet, and that he was at a pizza restaurant with one of his two daughters when she claimed they danced together at a London nightclub. 

Giuffre has collected multiple settlements from past lawsuits she's filed, including from Epstein, who killed himself in a federal jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on additional sex-trafficking charges, and from Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's former associate who was convicted in December of luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein.

During the proceedings of Giuffre's lawsuit against Andrew, unsealed documents showed Epstein paid Giuffre $500,000 in 2009 to settle a lawsuit she filed against him in Florida. The settlement in the 2015 defamation lawsuit Giuffre filed against Maxwell has not been disclosed. 

Giuffre is still embroiled in dueling lawsuits with former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (they're suing each other for defamation). She claims she was compelled to have sex with Dershowitz by Epstein; Dershowitz denies it vociferously and wrote a book arguing he has evidence showing she was pressured into making up the accusation.  

Dershowitz told USA TODAY he will never settle and expects to go to trial. Discovery proceedings are due to begin next week, according to court filings. 

USA TODAY has reached out to Giuffre's lawyer in the case. 

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