Now that Jeffrey Epstein is dead, what happens to the people, including Prince Andrew, who have been associated with him or accused of participating in his alleged sex-trafficking of minor girls?
It’s not clear but the Duke of York’s name surfaced again in connection with his former pal Epstein, a convicted sex offender who was indicted in New York last month on two more federal charges of sex-trafficking.
On Friday, there was a document dump: Thousands of pages of formerly sealed documents from a civil suit were unsealed, in which multiple powerful, rich and famous men, including Andrew, are accused of having sex with an underage girl allegedly supplied by Epstein decades ago.
The allegations against Andrew in the documents were not new and were vociferously denied by Buckingham Palace four years ago when they were last revived. They were part of a civil suit settled years ago; they had nothing to do with the current criminal charges against Epstein.
Then, early Saturday, Epstein apparently killed himself in his jail cell in a federal detention center in New York.
That produced more headlines, especially in Britain, reviving details of Andrew’s relationship with Epstein and resurfacing pictures of him with the financier and with his arm around the girl, now an adult, who accused him: Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an American who now lives in Australia.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew are driven from Crathie Kirk Church following Sunday service on Aug. 11, 2019, near Balmoral where the royals spend summer holidays. (Photo: Duncan McGlynn/Getty Images)
But at Balmoral in Scotland, where the British royals spend two months on holiday every summer, all seemed to be serene business as usual.
Queen Elizabeth II went to Sunday services at a small church nearby, and in the car next to her was Andrew, 59, her second son.
Everything else about the Epstein case, especially the hows and whys of his apparent suicide in federal custody, remain murky, but one thing is clear. The queen, and by extension the British royal family and establishment, is backing Andrew, long considered to be her favorite of her four children.
When asked Saturday about Epstein’s death and the allegations against Andrew by NBC News and the Daily Mail, Buckingham Palace offered a statement similar to those it has provided in the past.
“This relates to proceedings in the United States, to which The Duke of York is not a party. Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, at Buckingham Palace on June 12, 2019. (Photo: Steve Parsons/WPA Pool, Getty Images)
Urged on by Epstein’s accusers, U.S. authorities have vowed to continue their investigation of Epstein’s alleged crimes, including pursuing alleged accomplices who helped him or knew what he was doing. Does that include Andrew?
Could a British royal be indicted by American authorities on charges of sexual abuse of a minor girl? If not, could he be sued by his accuser under a new New York law, taking effect Wednesday, allowing accusers to pursue their alleged abusers in civil court, no matter how old their alleged crimes?
USA TODAY reached out to Spencer Kuvin, an attorney who represented multiple accusers of Epstein in Florida years ago.
“My clients settled their cases over 10 years ago,” Kuvin said in an email to USA TODAY. “I have no intentions of filing any new claims at this time.”
Other lawyers for Epstein’s accusers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, here’s a recap of the Andrew-Epstein connection:
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, presents his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, with a trophy after her horse Estimate won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June 2013. (Photo: Alastair Grant/ AP)
How does Prince Andrew know Jeffrey Epstein?
According to British media reports, they were friends for more than two decades. Their relationship is often cited as evidence of Andrew’s alleged poor judgment, and likely contributed in 2011 to the end of Andrew’s role as a British trade envoy, a job he loved and had held for about 10 years.
The Guardian reports that Andrew met Epstein in the 1990s after being introduced by Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late British media mogul Robert Maxwell. She was Epstein’s girlfriend and employee at the time and has been implicated in Epstein’s alleged trafficking activities as one of his supposed “recruiters.”
Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, watch a race during Royal Ascot on June 21, 2019. (Photo: FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/ EPA-EFE)
What is Andrew’s ex-wife’s relationship with Epstein?
In 2011, Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, to whom he is still close, acknowledged that Epstein had loaned her money to pay off her debts during one of her past financial crises.
According to The Telegraph, she apologized for a “gigantic error of judgment.”
“I personally, on behalf of myself, deeply regret that Jeffrey Epstein became involved in any way with me. I abhor pedophilia and any sexual abuse of children and know that this was a gigantic error of judgment on my behalf,” she said in a statement at the time.
What is the alleged ‘new’ link between Andrew and Epstein?
It is unclear so far who the accusers were in the charges unveiled last month by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York. Nor is it clear whether these are the same accusers involved in the Florida sex-crimes case in which Epstein was convicted in 2008 after a secret plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Florida, later assailed as an illegal “sweetheart” deal.
But we know what Epstein accuser Giuffre, 35, has said about Andrew and Epstein. In early 2015, she went public with accusations that Epstein and his employees made her a “sex slave” and paid her, when she was 17, to sexually service Andrew and Epstein’s other rich friends.
In this courtroom artist's sketch, Jeffrey Epstein (center) sits with attorneys Martin Weinberg, left, and Marc Fernich during his arraignment in New York federal court, July 8, 2019, on federal sex trafficking charges. (Photo: Elizabeth Williams/ AP)
She made these claims, denied emphatically by Andrew himself and by Buckingham Palace, in court documents filed in December 2014 when she was seeking to join a lawsuit filed in Florida against Epstein. However, the judge in the case ruled in April 2015 that her claims regarding Andrew were “immaterial and impertinent” to her case and he ordered them struck from the record.
Giuffre made the same allegations later in a civil defamation suit she filed against Ghislaine Maxwell in 2015, accusing Maxwell of defaming her by calling her a liar. That case was settled and sealed in May 2017 and the terms were not disclosed. The documents unsealed Friday came from that lawsuit.
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