Prince Andrew’s lawyers were locked in emergency talks overnight after Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted in New York for recruiting and grooming underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein, a new report said.
The British socialite’s guilty verdict Wednesday evening sent fear rippling through the embattled royal’s legal team as he battles sexual assault allegations leveled against him in a civil lawsuit filed in Manhattan, the Mirror reported.
Accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre has alleged the Duke of York sexually abused her when she was 17 after she was trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell.
Prince Andrew’s legal team is weighing whether to call one of the accusers who testified as a prosecution witness during Maxwell’s trial to help in his civil case, legal sources told the outlet.
They are hoping to seize on “smoking gun” testimony given by one of four women — referred to during Maxwell’s trial as “Carolyn” — on how she was introduced to Epstein.
Carolyn testified that Giuffre, not Maxwell, had taken her to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion in the early 2000s.
“Andrew’s US team immediately seized upon Carolyn’s testimony,” a legal source told the outlet.
Carolyn’s testimony could be used by Prince Andrew’s lawyers as they attempt to discredit Giuffre by claiming she helped recruit young girls for Epstein, the sources said.
“They believe she holds a smoking gun to any possible role Virginia played in Epstein’s pyramid scheme of abuse.
“Andrew’s lawyers have convinced him that if he is to stand any chance of preventing her case from going to court, they need to fight with fire and that nothing should be off limits.
“They believe Carolyn’s evidence seriously, if not fatally, weakened the case” against the prince.
With Maxwell’s conviction, Prince Andrew’s lawyers are said to be concerned, because the burden of proof is lower in civil cases than what is needed in a criminal case.
Experts have pointed to how OJ Simpson was cleared in Nicole Brown’s death criminally but was later found guilty in a civil case brought by her family.
In her civil lawsuit, Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York in Maxwell’s London home and elsewhere when she was 17.
Giuffre was not listed as a victim in the indictment against Maxwell and did not testify at her trial.
Evidence that Maxwell and Epstein flew with Giuffre across the country and that they recruited her for abuse was allowed into the trial as potential corroboration of a sex-trafficking conspiracy.
Maxwell was found guilty of five of six counts she was facing in the sex-trafficking trial. She faces up to 65 years in prison.