NEW YORK (AP) — A previously sealed $500,000 lawsuit settlement in 2009 between Jeffrey Epstein and an American woman that Prince Andrew claims protects him from an ongoing lawsuit was made public Monday.
The deal between Epstein and Virginia Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, contained a paragraph that said it protects anyone "who could have been included as a potential defendant" from being sued by Giuffre.
Attorney Andrew Brettler, representing the prince, has told a Manhattan federal court judge that the agreement "releases Prince Andrew and others from any purported liability arising from the claims Ms. Giuffre asserted against Prince Andrew here."
In August, Giuffre sued the prince, saying he had sexually assaulted her multiple times in 2001 when she was 17.
The prince's lawyers have challenged the lawsuit on multiple grounds, saying "Andrew never sexually abused or assaulted Giuffre. He unequivocally denies Giuffre's false allegations against him."
They also wrote that Giuffre sued Andrew "to achieve another payday at his expense and at the expense of those closest to him. Epstein's abuse of Giuffre does not justify her public campaign against Prince Andrew."
Oral arguments over the request to dismiss the lawsuit without a trial are scheduled for Tuesday.
Recently, the lawyers have said Giuffre should be disallowed from suing because she has lived most of the past two decades in Australia and can't accurately claim to be a resident of Colorado, where her mother lives.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan has rejected an attempt by the lawyers to halt progression of the lawsuit and to subject Giuffre to a deposition over the issue of where she is a resident.
In late 2019, Prince Andrew told BBC Newsnight that he never had sex with Giuffre, saying, "It didn't happen."
He said he has "no recollection" of ever meeting her.
The interview was widely panned by critics who said Andrew seemed insensitive to Epstein's victims. Afterward, the prince was made to step back from royal duties.
A message was left with a spokesperson for Giuffre's lawyers and with Brettler.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial in a federal Manhattan lockup.
His former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, was convicted last week in Manhattan on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges after a month-long trial.
Judge Alison J. Nathan, who presided over the trial, asked lawyers on both sides to suggest when a sentencing date should be set and when a trial should be scheduled on perjury charges that were severed from the other charges Maxwell faced.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they choose to come forward publicly, as Giuffre has done.
By LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press