LONDON — One of the women who has accused Jeffrey Epstein of sex crimes has issued a startlingly clear appeal to Prince Andrew of Britain to “come clean” about his relationship with the disgraced financier.
“He knows exactly what he’s done, and I hope he comes clean about it,” the woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said on Tuesday. She spoke outside a New York courthouse after an emotional hearing in which many of Mr. Epstein’s accusers spoke publicly for the first time.
Prince Andrew, the 59-year-old second son of Queen Elizabeth II, has faced intensifying scrutiny for his ties to Mr. Epstein, who was arrested in New York in July on sex trafficking charges. Mr. Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell this month, but in the weeks since, a storm has been mounting in the British news media, and the prince has stood at the center.
Prince Andrew, a longtime friend of Mr. Epstein’s, has been accused of witnessing and taking part in sexual exploitation of young women and girls during their friendship. He has also been widely criticized for maintaining a relationship with Mr. Epstein after the financier left a Florida jail in 2010 after a sex crime conviction.
Ms. Giuffre said in legal filings in 2015 that Mr. Epstein lent her to Prince Andrew for sex on multiple occasions when she was 17. She has released a photograph from 2001 showing Prince Andrew standing next to her with his hand around her bare midriff.
A second woman, Johanna Sjoberg, said in recently unsealed legal filings in the same case that Prince Andrew posed in 2001 for another photograph touching her breast while touching Ms. Giuffre’s breast at the same time with a puppet of himself.
ImageCreditPool photo by Yui Mok
The prince has repeatedly denied those allegations.
On Saturday, Prince Andrew broke his long silence on the scandal, saying he spent only a “limited time” with Mr. Epstein and that he never saw nor suspected any behavior involving the sexual trafficking and exploitation of underage girls.
He also played down their relationship, saying he saw Mr. Epstein “infrequently” after the two men met in 1999, but added it had been “a mistake and an error to see him” after Mr. Epstein was released from jail.
A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said on Wednesday that the royal family would not comment further.
But lawyers for Mr. Epstein’s accusers have demanded that Prince Andrew disclose whatever he knows about the financier’s behavior.
In 2015, a court in the United States struck Ms. Giuffre’s allegations against Prince Andrew from a claim against Mr. Epstein, saying they were “immaterial and impertinent” because the prince was not a defendant in the case, The Guardian reported.
Brad Edwards, a lawyer for Ms. Giuffre, said there was a difference between “bland statements” and answering questions under oath, The Times of London reported.
“I have personally extended that invitation to Prince Andrew multiple times,” Mr. Edwards told the news outlet. “We are ready and we have a lot of questions for him.”
SOURCE : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/world/europe/prince-andrew-epstein-accuser.html