Prince Andrew could have avoided his sexual-assault lawsuit, sources told The Post, if he had apologized to accuser Virginia Giuffre Roberts years ago.
Queen Elizabeth’s second son now faces the hugely damaging prospect of appearing in a New York court to face Roberts, who has brought a civil lawsuit against him, claiming that he slept with her three times when she was 17.
A source who knows Giuffre told The Post: “Virginia has always just wanted the prince to acknowledge that he did something he shouldn’t have, she wants him to apologize. She has never made this all about money.
“I think she would have dropped this a long, long time ago had the prince said he was guilty of wrongdoing, but he’s embroiled in denial which has brought him down.”
Andrew has repeatedly denied Giuffre’s claims over the years.
Judge Lewis Kaplan heard arguments from the prince’s legal team Tuesday, as they claimed the case should be dismissed because the prince was protected by a $500,000 settlement back in 2009 between Roberts and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Kaplan appears poised to allow the suit to move forward after clashing with Prince Andrew’s lawyers who claimed specific language in the settlement shields the royal from legal liability.
The hearing came just days after Andrew’s friend British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of sex trafficking and potentially faces the rest of her life behind bars.
“You would be hard pressed to find someone who Ghislaine’s guilty conviction affects more than Prince Andrew. This changes everything for how we think about anyone connected to Epstein. Andrew is 61 and he’s about to have a reckoning,” the source who knows Giuffre said.
Giuffre’s legal team is getting ready to put their “discovery” evidence in front of the judge this summer, which reportedly includes evidence from one unnamed woman who recalls being told to get ready for Andrew at Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, sources told The Post.
While giving a disastrous interview to the BBC in November 2019, Andrew admitted that he last seen Maxwell in the UK earlier that year, but added that they had not discussed Epstein, saying each had “moved on.”
But for more than a decade, the prince has been dogged by a photo of him standing with his arm around a then 17-year-old Giuffre, while, behind them, Maxwell beams for the camera.
The photo was first published by the Mail on Sunday in 2011, when Roberts first made her claims that she had been kept a sex slave by Maxwell and her former lover Epstein.
It is now one of the most infamous images of the entire Epstein saga. Andrew denies all claims of impropriety.
Those who know Giuffre said that Andrew’s legal camp should steer clear from trying to portray her as a “gold-digging liar.” As one legal source said: “As we saw with the Ghislaine jury, the defense strategy that these women are liars doing it for money did not work, the jury didn’t buy it.
“Where Andrew’s legal team has it wrong is that, even if Virginia is flawed it’s not going to do what they want it to do. Victims may not have perfect memories, they may be flawed, but juries believe them.”
Giuffre did not testify in Maxwell’s trial. Laura Menninger, one of Maxwell’s attorneys, had said of her: “[Prosecutors] don’t want her to testify because she has a lot of credibility problems.”
If Kaplan rules the case can go ahead, Giuffre’s attorneys, David Boies and Sigrid McCawley, will start the process of discovery and building the anatomy of the case. It’s not yet known whether the case would be heard solely by a judge or in front of a jury.
The legal source said: “Andrew is going to have a full case built against him with far-reaching witnesses, it will extend far from Virginia Giuffre Roberts … He’s going to run into serious problems in a US court of law. David and Sigrid are going to put on a real case with witnesses and experts, where people can put Andrew in places.”
Asked whether Andrew could appear in court, the source said: “If it gets to that point, it would be very bad for him not to be present, it”s unthinkable … If he did not show up in front of a judge or a jury he’s in big trouble.
“He’s not above the law — we saw what privilege did for Ghislaine.”
Last August, Boies said that Andrew and his legal team had “simply ignored every letter, every phone call, every outreach that we’ve made,” adding, “but he can’t ignore judicial process.”