Maxwell’s verdict does not bode well in Prince Andrew’s civil case

LONDON. Prince Andrew has not been tried in Ghyslaine Maxwell’s case of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, but her conviction is bad news for a man who is ninth in line to the throne.

Following the conclusion of Maxwell’s case, attention will now be drawn to a US civil lawsuit in which the plaintiff claims that Maxwell and longtime boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein took her to London, New York and the US Virgin Islands to have sex with Andrew when she was a minor.

Andrew denies the charges, but Wednesday’s verdict shows that at least one American jury was willing to believe in the young women traded by Epstein and Maxwell in a criminal case where the standard of proof is higher than in civil cases.

“To the extent that the evidence in the Prince Andrew case overlaps, it certainly doesn’t bode well,” said Bradley Simon, a former US federal attorney who is now a lawyer in complex civil cases. “But, as I said, every case is fact-based, and the judges will always instruct the jury about this.”

Maxwell was convicted Wednesday on human trafficking and conspiracy charges after a month-long trial in New York.

While US criminal cases must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, civil defendants may be ordered to pay financial damages if they are found guilty on the basis of most of the evidence.

The verdict for Andrew is problematic because he has a long friendship with Maxwell, the daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, who has turned from filth to wealth. Even after Epstein was accused of sex crimes, Andrew failed to distance himself from her.

These links have already reduced the prince’s authority.

Andrew was forced to step down from his duties as a working royals after a disastrous 2019 BBC interview, which only heightened public concerns about his ties to Epstein and Maxwell. Prince was widely criticized for his explanation of why he kept in touch with Epstein after the financier was accused of sexual harassment and for not showing sympathy for Epstein’s victims.

While Maxwell’s trial did not bring any new sensational accusations against Andrew, it is once again reminding people of the dirty accusations and weakening his credibility in the public eye, ”said Chris Scott of Slateford, a London-based reputation law firm.

“It just adds credibility to people’s stories,” Scott told The Associated Press. “You have a US Criminal Court decision confirming that human trafficking continued. In a way, it becomes much more difficult for people to realize that this is all made up when trust in you really grows. So I think it will be very problematic for him. “

A civil lawsuit against Andrew was filed last August by Virginia Giuffre, who says she was 17 when she flew to London to have sex with Andrew at Maxwell’s home in Belgravia, a prestigious neighborhood where many foreign embassies and wealthy expats live. … According to her lawsuit, other meetings with Andrew took place at Epstein’s homes in Manhattan and in the US Virgin Islands.

Giuffre, who was not involved in the criminal case, described Maxwell as the “Mary Poppins” figure who made young girls feel comfortable when lured into Epstein’s net.

At Maxwell’s London home, a photograph of Andrew was allegedly taken hugging Giuffre around the waist – an image that has long been central to Giuffre’s claims. In an interview with the BBC, Andrew suggested that the image was falsified.

“I don’t remember ever meeting this lady,” he said. “No way.”

Given the high stakes for Andrew, one civil lawsuit question is whether he will ever go to trial. Gloria Allred, representing a number of Epstein’s victims, told the BBC that she expects the prince’s attorneys to file a series of due process complaints to try to thwart the case.

This strategy has already been demonstrated.

Andrew initially denied that he had been served with court papers notifying him of the legal action. Then, in October, his lawyers asked Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to drop the suit, stating that the prince had never sexually abused Giuffre and that they believed she was suing Andrew “to get another paycheck at his expense. and at the expense of the people closest to him. “Last week they raised another challenge, saying that Giuffre’s lawsuit should be dismissed because she no longer lives in the United States.

Andrew met Maxwell while she was studying history at Oxford University in the early 1980s.

Like her formidable, well-connected father, Ghislaine Maxwell became a master of networking, building a long list of contacts in the world of wealth and power in which she grew up.

After graduation, she worked for the family publishing company in various positions. In 1991, at the age of 29, she became her father’s emissary to the United States after he bought the New York Daily News in an attempt to compete with another media mogul and owner of the New York Post, Rupert Murdoch.

Robert Maxwell died later that year when he fell from his yacht Lady Ghislaine in the Canary Islands in what some saw as an accident and others as suicide. Investors soon discovered that his wealth was an illusion: Maxwell had diverted hundreds of millions of pounds from his companies’ pension funds to bolster his publishing empire.

Shortly after her father’s death, Ghislaine Maxwell was photographed sitting next to Epstein during a memorial event at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

Maxwell brought star power to her relationship with Epstein, and they soon began attending parties with the likes of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Later, Andrew invited Maxwell and Epstein to Windsor Castle and Sandringham, the country estate of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ian Maxwell said Thursday that the family still believes his sister is innocent and will support efforts to appeal her sentence.

“We are very disappointed with the verdict,” the family said in a statement on Wednesday. “We have already started the appeal tonight and we trust that it will ultimately be acquitted.”

In recent years, Andrew has sought to distance himself from Epstein, who committed suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Andrew told the BBC that he saw Epstein a maximum of three times a year and sometimes stayed at one of his houses when he was in the United States.

The prince said he stopped dating Epstein in 2006 after he became aware of a sexual assault investigation that eventually led to the financier serving 13 months in prison. Andrew said that in December 2010 he had his last meeting with Epstein to tell him that they could not keep in touch.

“It would be a stretch to say that he was a very, very close friend,” Andrew said.

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