What Epstein settlement agreement with Virginia Guiffre means for Prince Andrew sex assault case

What do the documents tell us and what happens next in the lawsuit? ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship explains

A confidential legal document between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Guiffre (also known as Virginia Roberts) has revealed she entered into a settlement agreement agreeing to relinquish her right to make any kind of legal claim against Epstein and "against any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant from all, and all manner of action and actions of Virginia Roberts."

The 2009 document shows Ms Guiffre was paid $500,000 (£371,722) in the agreement which, the Duke of York's lawyers argue, would end her lawsuit against the queen's son.

The details of the document could create an arguable legal case for Prince Andrew, for his lawyers could argue the duke is included in the group of individuals Ms Guiffre is unable to make a legal claim against as a result of the settlement.

Ms Guiffre had previously referred to being trafficked to "royalty" in her 2009 claim, prompting Andrew's lawyers to argue he is covered by this deal.

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Andrew B Brettler, who represents the duke, had argued at a previous hearing the agreement “releases Prince Andrew and others from any purported liability arising from the claims Ms Giuffre asserted against Prince Andrew here”.

Ms Giuffre is suing the Queen’s son for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.

She is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.

The Duke has denied all the allegations.

Epstein was found dead in his cell in August 2019. Credit: New York State Sex Offender Registry/AP

The settlement goes on to say: "Additionally, as a material consideration in settling, First Parties and Second Parties agree that the terms of this Settlement Agreement are not intended to be used by any other person nor be admissible in any proceeding or case against or involving Jeffrey Epstein, either civil or criminal."

The repercussions of this point could favour both sides in the case for Prince Andrew’s lawyers will likely argue that it gives a double reason why Ms Guiffre cannot take legal action against the duke.

But Ms Guiffre and her legal team are likely to argue her case against the prince doesn't “involve” Epstein directly.

Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew. Credit: PA

Epstein was found dead in his cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial at a New York federal jail. His death was ruled a suicide. His former girlfriend and friend Ghislaine Maxwell was on Thursday convictecd of helping Epstein sexually abuse underage girls. 

The verdict capped a month-long trial featuring sordid accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14, told by four women who described being abused as teenagers in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s homes.

Maxwell faces the likelihood of at least 40 years behind bars. Her family says she is appealing the verdict.