In a stunning development, Prince Andrew has sensationally chosen to avoid a court battle and settle with his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Prince Andrew has sensationally settled his sex abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre – sparing him a humiliating court battle.
The disgraced Duke was on a collision course with the sex trafficking victim over claims he raped and abused her when she was 17, The Sun reports.
Andrew and Virginia had been due to put the shocking allegations to a jury trial in a court showdown.
And the Duke was just weeks away from being deposed by Virginia’s lawyers in a two-day grilling in London.
The allegations have seen the Royal Family shaken to its foundations as the Duke was stripped of his titles and banished from public life.
Repeatedly and strongly denying all the claims against him, Andrew had seemed ready to take the case for a high profile court battle in the US.
He was facing a gruelling legal clash, which could have probed claims such as he could not sweat and that he was actually in a Pizza Express.
And the surprise settlement, just days before Andrew’s 62nd birthday, leaves many questions unanswered over Virginia’s allegations.
The sum of money agreed between the two parties may never be released, but had been speculated to be up to £14 million (A$26.5 million).
US lawyer David Boies, who represents Giuffre, said in the filing in a Manhattan federal court that lawyers on both sides were informing the judge that they had agreed a settlement in principle.
And he added they will request a dismissal of the lawsuit within a month.
Meanwhile, the letter said that the judge should suspend all deadlines and hold the action in abeyance.
The American accused the Duke of sexually abusing her when she was 17 while she travelled with Andrew’s paedophile friends Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
Court documents show the Duke will make a “substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights”.
Andrew has also pledged to “demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein” by supporting the “fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims.”
Andrew’s settlement statement marked the first time he had shown contrition over his relationship with Epstein and Maxwell.
The Duke had previously defended his friendship with the paedo has having “seriously beneficial outcomes” away from the rape allegations.
Giuffre first sued Andrew last August.
It was the first time she had brought action against him after going public with the allegations in 2011.
She claims she was trafficked and forced to have sex with the Andrew for the first time at Maxwell’s house in London after a night out at the club Tramp.
Virginia also claimed she was forced to have sex with the Duke on at least two further occasions by Maxwell and Epstein.
The document submitted to a US court said: “Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew have reached an out-of-court settlement.
“The parties will file a stipulated dismissal upon Ms Giuffre’s receipt of the settlement (the sum of which is not being disclosed).
“Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.
“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.
“It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years.
“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.”
A second document, a letter addressed to US judge Lewis A Kaplan, who has been overseeing the case, said: “We write jointly with counsel for defendant to advise the court that the parties reached a settlement in principle of the above-referenced action.”
It goes on to say the parties involved plan to file a “stipulation of dismissal of the case” within 30 days.
The letter, signed by Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies, concludes: “We appreciate the time and effort the court has devoted to this matter.”
Virginia’s lawyer Sigrid McCawley: “As a managing partner at firm that has from its beginning acted upon belief that the law should be marshalled to bring justice to the most vulnerable, I can say, without hesitation, that our representation of survivors upholds that tradition”
Virginia had alleged she was forced to have sex with the prince by Epstein and his “madam” Maxwell when she was 17 and he was 41 in 2001.
Andrew faced civil litigation or the first time over the allegations in the 15-page lawsuit which was filed in 2021.
‘No one is above the law’
His accuser’s legal team argued she was a “frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her” when she was allegedly abused by Andrew, saying “no person, whether President or Prince, is above the law”.
Andrew was named as the only defendant in the suit, brought under New York State’s Child Victims Act, though Epstein and his former girlfriend Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.
Ms Giuffre was seeking unknown amounts of compensation and punitive damages over the allegations.
She claims she feared for her life when she was allegedly forced to have sex with Andrew, who is accused of having been aware of her age and status as a “sex-trafficking victim”.
Court documents claim Ms Giuffre was “lent out for sexual purposes” by convicted sex offender Epstein including while she was still a minor under US law.
The documents add the alleged assaults “have caused, and continue to cause her, significant emotional and psychological distress and harm”.
“Prince Andrew’s actions, described above, constitute extreme and outrageous conduct that shocks the conscience,” the lawsuit stated as it described the emotional distress suffered by Ms Giuffre.
“Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse of a child who he knew was a sex-trafficking victim, and when he was approximately 40 years old, goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is intolerable in a civilised community,” it added.
In an infamous Newsnight interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis in November 2019, Andrew denied claims that he slept with Ms Giuffre and said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her.
He also said he has no memory of the well-known photograph of him with his arm around Ms Giuffre’s waist at Maxwell’s house, and has questioned whether it was his own hand in the image.
The fallout from the interview saw the royal criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein’s victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with disgraced financier.
Andrew had previously pledged to assist with any investigation into his former friend.
But there has been a long running war of words between his team and US prosecutors about how much assistance he has offered them.
Epstein died by suicide in his prison cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking offences.
And meanwhile Maxwell faces potentially spending the rest of her life in prison after she was convicted over her role in the scheme.
Representatives for the Duke of York said he would not be expanding beyond the statement filed in court.
When asked for comment by The Sun Online, Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies said: “I believe this event speaks for itself.”
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.