ELISSA NADWORNY, HOST:
Britain’s Prince Andrew has agreed to settle the lawsuit filed by the woman who accused him of rape. Virginia Giuffre says that when she was a teenager, she was trafficked by notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell has recently been convicted of sex trafficking minors. Giuffre maintains that they forced her to have sex with the prince. NPR’s Jasmine Garsd has been reporting on this case, and she joins us now. Hello.
JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: Hi.
NADWORNY: So, Jasmine, the settlement was announced today. What did they agree to?
GARSD: Attorneys for both parties released a joint statement today, and what’s interesting about it is what the statement didn’t say. Prince Andrew did express regret for associating with Epstein. He says he never intended to malign Virginia Giuffre’s character. They settled on an amount of money which was not disclosed. Also, he said he intends to make a large donation to Giuffre’s charity, which supports victims’ rights. And he commended her for her bravery in speaking up. But in the statement, he did not directly address her rape accusations against him.
NADWORNY: And this is quite a change in direction from Prince Andrew’s team, right? I mean, initially, they were going on the offense, giving every indication they intended to fight this in court.
GARSD: Yes. Initially, Prince Andrew’s team tried to get the case dismissed. Their reasoning was that in 2009, Virginia Giuffre reached a settlement with Jeffrey Epstein in which Giuffre was barred from suing anyone associated with Epstein. And this stipulation raised a lot of eyebrows. It really came to be seen as a symbol of the corruption of the Epstein case, of how much he was able to get away with. But nevertheless, Prince Andrew’s team attempted to shield him with this part of the agreement and implied that Giuffre was really just after more money.
NADWORNY: But a judge ruled that despite the settlement, Giuffre could sue the prince. The trial was going to happen. Prince Andrew was scheduled to give a deposition. What changed?
GARSD: Well, once the judge greenlit this case to go to trial, it was widely speculated that Prince Andrew would try and settle this out of court. It’s been really bad publicity for the royal family at a time when, you know, they are still reeling from the whole Harry and Meghan Markle separating from the family. And also important for context – this comes right on the heels of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial and her conviction for sex trafficking. She’s still awaiting sentencing. Right now it’s scheduled for June. I covered that trial, and that is not the kind of press the British Crown wants right now.
NADWORNY: Any comment from the royal family?
GARSD: No word. But Prince Andrew has recently been stripped of all his royal patronages and military affiliations.
NADWORNY: Is this the last we’ll be hearing from the cases tied to Epstein and Maxwell?
GARSD: Well, Epstein died several years ago while in custody at a Manhattan facility. It was ruled a suicide. And several of his accusers testified at Maxwell’s trial. Many of his accusers said his death left him with a sense – left them with a sense of emptiness, of just no closure whatsoever. There are questions about whether they will try and now pursue further legal action here.
NADWORNY: So we may be hearing more. Thank you so much. That was NPR’s Jasmine Garsd.
GARSD: Thank you.