- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Prince Andrew has dramatically accepted that he has been legitimately served with papers in the civil case being brought against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, but regards the lawsuit as an “opportunity rather than a threat,” sources close to Andrew have told The Daily Beast.
The comments provide the clearest indication yet that Andrew, who is still in hiding at his mother’s Scottish home, Balmoral, is contemplating participating in and fighting the case, setting up the possibility of a blockbuster courtroom showdown over allegations that he sexually abused Giuffre when she was 17 years old.
The development comes after several days in which Andrew’s legal team appeared to be trying to get the suit thrown out on technicalities. They have tried on multiple occasions to contest the validity of document service against him, so the new tone from his camp represents a dramatic inflection point in Andrew’s legal strategy.
The well-placed source told The Daily Beast: “This is Mrs. Giuffre’s civil case, she has brought it and has actively invited legal scrutiny of her own version of events. This provides an opportunity, rather than a threat, because it finally enables the Duke and his team to properly scrutinize the multiple inconsistencies in her narrative.”
Among the inconsistencies Andrew is said to be keen to highlight is Giuffre’s description of Andrew drinking when she met him in the London nightclub Tramp, in a “journal” leaked to the Radar Online website. Andrew does not drink alcohol.
Andrew brought this up in his BBC interview, saying: “I don’t know where the bar is. I don’t drink, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink in Tramp whenever I was there.”
The source said that Giuffre’s “inconsistency around alcohol” is one point that the prince’s team will bring up.
In her “journal,” Giuffre did not, however, particularly paint Andrew as a drinker. She instead wrote that Andrew “did not hesitate to grab us both an alcoholic cocktail” and said “we took a few sips,” before going dancing.
Prima facie, the notion that in a “packed” nightclub Giuffre might have mistakenly believed Andrew had ordered an alcoholic drink seems unlikely to demolish her credibility.
The Daily Beast understands that another point of attack for Andrew’s team is that Giuffre initially alleged there were four encounters with Andrew, including one at Epstein’s Zorro Ranch in New Mexico, while her writ only details three alleged meetings.
Giuffre not including each and every example of alleged abuse does not, of course, automatically mean that she is lying about all the other occasions. It is far from unusual for plaintiffs to cherry-pick specimen examples of behavior, focusing on ones they consider they have the most chance of proving.
Andrew’s biggest problem, of course, is the photo of himself with Giuffre, with a leering Ghislaine Maxwell in the background of the shot (the photographer was reportedly Jeffrey Epstein).
Andrew has said he has no recollection of ever meeting Giuffre. He has strongly implied that the notorious photograph, which shows him with his hand around Giuffre’s bare waist, is a fake. His friends have previously said that Andrew has “chubby fingers” that do not match those in the photo.
Claims that the photo is fake have been comprehensively rubbished since they first emerged.
Sources in Andrew’s camp previously claimed the picture was faked to generate a tabloid payout. It has been claimed Giuffre was paid over £140,000 ($170,000) by the Mail on Sunday for the picture. The paper has strongly defended its authenticity.
Andrew’s team is also understood to be looking at an early published article in which Giuffre described meeting Andrew, but did not state that Andrew had engaged in any form of sexual encounter with her.
The source pointed to a report published in the Mail on Sunday in 2011, in which Giuffre said: “After about an hour-and-a-half, we drove back to Ghislaine’s. All of us went upstairs and I asked Jeffrey to snap a picture of me with the prince. I wanted something to show my mom. Ghislaine and Jeffrey left us after that, and later Andrew left.”
While it is undeniably a very different characterization of the events of the night than Giuffre would later narrate, it seems a weak foundation on which to build an attack on Giuffre’s reliability. It is far from uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to be reluctant to reveal the full extent of the abuse they have suffered. One Playboy model, Anouska De Georgiou, who appeared in an NBC special alongside Giuffre, said: “I think the nature of this kind of abuse means that you’re conditioned to be silent, to be isolated—secretive and shameful.”
There have been reports in recent days that Andrew was considering firing his U.K. lawyers, but the same source told The Daily Beast that Andrew intends to stick with his legal team, saying: “Contrary to media reports, the duke retains every confidence in his legal team and their strategy.”
The Daily Beast has approached Virginia Giuffre’s legal team for comment.