Prince Andrew: Experts ‘baffled’ by ‘extraordinary phrase’ in Giuffre’s Epstein settlement
Prince Andrew: Legal expert discusses ‘optics’
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Ms Guiffre, who is suing the Queen’s son in New York, has alleged that she was trafficked by convicted sex offenders Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell to Andrew 20 years ago. Ms Guiffre claims that the Duke of York sexually assaulted her on three occaisons when she was 17 and a minor under US law. Andrew has vehemently denied the claims on multiple occasions, telling the BBC’s Newsnight in 2019: “It didn’t happen. I can categorically tell you it never happened.
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady. None, whatsoever.”
Last Monday, a 2009 private settlement between Ms Giuffre and Epstein worth $500,000 (£371,000) was released in court.
As per the settlement, Ms Guiffre agreed to not bring any future case against other “potential defendants”, a phrase which the Duke of York’s lawyers argue covers their client.
However, according to royal expert Mr Myers, there is another phrase in the settlement that has also caused confusion and “baffled” experts.
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Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Zoe Forsey and features Daily Mirror royal editor Mr Myers.
Mr Myers explained: “In the agreement, it said that ‘Virginia Giuffre agreed to release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge Epstein and any other person or entity who could be included as a potential defendant.’
“Not only that, it said that this action would be ‘from the beginning of the world’, which is such an extraordinary turn of phrase.”
Ms Forsey interjected to ask: “Is that a legal term?”
Mr Myers said: “I don’t expect so. It is slightly ludicrous.
“I think that, from speaking to people who are a lot more familiar with the US legal system, even they were completely baffled by it.”
Much of last Tuesday’s Manhattan hearing was centred around whether Andrew could be referred to as a “potential defendant”.
The Duke of York’s lawyer, Andrew B Brettler, told Judge Lewis A Kaplan that a potential defendant had to be “someone who was not named as a defendant but could have been”.
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Mr Brettler insisted that Andrew must have been someone she knew she had claims against when she filed the lawsuit in 2009, so the royal could be described as a “potential defendant”.
However, Judge Lewis A Kaplan said that “potential” was not a phrase he or Mr Brettler could “find any meaning at all” in.
Meanwhile Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies argued that Andrew could not be described as a “potential defendant”.
He claimed that the term referred to those that could be accused of people trafficking, while the Duke of York “was somebody to whom the girls were trafficked.”
On the podcast Pod Save the Queen, Mr Myers suggested that the “beginning of the world” phrase had also caused contention among experts as it failed to specify what jurisdiction the 2009 settlement covered.
He said: “There was some commentary around it that the judge really didn’t comment on, but there was some commentary from legal experts who weren’t sure whether the deal signed in Florida gave jurisdiction over another court and of course, this is being heard in New York.
“But I take you back to the extraordinary phrase ‒ ‘from the beginning of the world’‒ does it encompass anywhere and everywhere as well?
“Again, legal minds thought that that was just utterly, utterly bizarre wording.”
Judge Kaplan said he would come to a decision on the case “pretty soon”, though did not specify precisely when.
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