Prince Andrew's links to Jeffrey Epstein under further scrutiny as hundreds of court files released

The Duke of York could have his alleged links to Jeffrey Epstein come under further scrutiny after a judge approved the release of hundreds of court files. Credit: PA

The Duke of York’s alleged links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein may come under increased scrutiny with the release of hundreds of files from a defamation case.

Documents relating to more than 170 people who were either associates, friends or victims of disgraced financier Epstein should be made public, US Judge Loretta Preska ruled on Monday.

They include 40 documents of evidence from Johanna Sjoberg, who has claimed Prince Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a sofa in the US billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with Epstein Credit: PA

Buckingham Palace previously said the allegations are “categorically untrue”.

The documents are part of a 2015 US defamation case by Virginia Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite who supplied Epstein with underage girls.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Ms Giuffre said: “Finally we are hearing members of the US government senators about the need for transparency and a call to arms for accountability!!

“There’s going to be a lot of nervous ppl over Christmas and New Years, 170 to be exact, who’s on the naughty list?

“This (would not) be possible without the Honourable Judge Preska.”

The individuals who are set to be named in the documents will have 14 days to appeal against the judge’s decision – meaning they are likely to be released in early January.

Ms Giuffre settled her civil claim against Maxwell, but representatives of the media have since argued documents that were sealed as part of the case should be made public.

Judge Preska ordered some individuals should be named because they had already given interviews to the media – including Ms Sjoberg.

Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with Epstein and paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case with Ms Giuffre, a woman he claimed never to have met.

Epstein was found dead in his prison cell in Manhattan in August 2019 Credit: US Department of Justice/PA

The duke was cast out of the working monarchy and no longer uses his HRH style after Ms Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17.

In January 2022, ahead of his legal settlement, his mother Queen Elizabeth II stripped Andrew of all of his honorary military roles, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

The death was ruled a suicide.

Maxwell has been imprisoned since July 2020, despite attempts from her defence counsel to have her released on bail.

She was sentenced to 20 years in prison at the federal court in the Southern District of New York in June last year.

The socialite indicated her desire to appeal shortly after her conviction, with her lawyers claiming victims had “faded, distorted and motivated memories”.

Her appeal is currently scheduled to be heard in November next year.

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