Prince Andrew’s legal team reportedly went into “emergency talks” following the conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell, a close associate of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, on sex trafficking charges.
Prince Andrew has been under scrutiny for years over allegations that he sexually abused Virginia Giuffre when she was underage. Giuffre is one of Epstein’s most high-profile accusers and has claimed the dead financier sex trafficked her to Prince Andrew. Giuffre says that a 2001 picture of her, Prince Andrew, and Maxwell was taken during the time she was being abused by the British royal.
The prince has denied all of Giuffre’s allegations and claimed to have never known her, despite the photograph of the two together. Prince Andrew has claimed ignorance about the photograph, not remembering ever meeting Giuffre or the photo ever being taken.
On Wednesday, Maxwell was found guilty on five of six counts of sex trafficking and other charges connected with allegations that Epstein, who died by suicide in a federal prison in August 2019, sexually abused and trafficked underage girls. Prince Andrew’s legal team went into “emergency talks” shortly after, according to the Mirror. The U.K. outlet reported:
Prince Andrew’s lawyers were locked in emergency talks last night following the conviction of his pal Ghislaine Maxwell as they considered calling on one of her victims to help him in his US civil case which includes allegations of sex abuse and first degree rape.
The guilty verdicts left the British socialite – a second paedophile the royal is now known to have befriended – facing up to 65 years in jail after being found to have procured, groomed and trafficked girls for sex for Epstein abuse.
The jurors’ decision has sparked fear in the Duke of York’s legal team given the burden of proof in a criminal case is far higher than that needed in a civil case, like the one Andrew is facing.
Prince Andrew was not mentioned in Maxwell’s trial, nor did Giuffre testify. After Maxwell’s conviction came down, however, Giuffre celebrated while pushing for accountability for more of Epstein’s associates.
“My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that. I will remember this day always. Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell’s abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed,” she said in a statement posted to Twitter. “I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be.”
Giuffre sued Prince Andrew earlier this year alleging that Maxwell and Epstein trafficked her to the British royal.
“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 says, according to NBC News.
Prince Andrew’s legal team will be in court in New York next month to argue to have the lawsuit dismissed.