Prince Andrew‘s longtime accuser Virginia Giuffre is seeking testimony from his former equerry, according to court papers in her sexual abuse lawsuit against the royal.
Giuffre’s attorneys said Friday that they had “reason to believe” that Robert Olney, the Duke of York’s past assistant, has “relevant information about Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein”.
Epstein, a convicted sex offender and financier, was arrested in July 2019 for sex trafficking girls as young as 14. He killed himself in a Manhattan jail about one month later, while awaiting trial.
Maxwell, daughter of the British press baron Robert Maxwell, was convicted of sex trafficking and related charges last month for bringing girls as young as 14 to Epstein for him to abuse. Andrew has denied all allegations of misconduct.
Giuffre’s lawyers also wrote in court filings that Olney’s name “appears in publicly available copies of Epstein’s phone book”.
The attorneys said in court filings that they would like to question Olney about Andrew’s relationship with Epstein and Maxwell. Giuffre’s lawyers also said they wanted to ask him about “any communications with or regarding plaintiff,”, as well as Andrew’s travel to New York City and “to or from any of Jeffrey Epstein’s homes”.
Giuffre’s attorneys have also requested testimony from Shukri Walker, who said that she saw Andrew at Tramp Nightclub in London “with a young girl around the time that plaintiff contends Prince Andrew abused her in London after visiting Tramp Nightclub.
“Because Prince Andrew has denied ever meeting plaintiff or being at Tramp Nightclub during the relevant time period, Ms Walker’s testimony is highly relevant,” Giuffre’s lawyers wrote.
Walker’s name has previously surfaced as a potential witness to Giuffre’s interactions with Andrew at Tramp nightclub. Her attorney, Lisa Bloom, previously told the Guardian: “My client says she was there and she remembers the night clearly because she never saw a royal before or since.
“She says Prince Andrew was happy, smiling and dancing, and Virginia did not look happy. My client was a trafficking victim herself and wants everyone to know that sex trafficking is real, ongoing and devastating,” remarked Bloom, who has represented several Epstein victims.
“I gave the FBI all the details of my client’s story for further investigation,” Bloom also said.
Giuffre’s attorneys revealed these names as they are asking Manhattan federal court judge Lewis Kaplan to formally ask British authorities for assistance obtaining this testimony. They are making this request for assistance as this testimony would be taken outside the US.
Their request for testimony came in the wake of Kaplan’s refusal to dismiss Giuffre’s lawsuit.
The fallout from Giuffre’s case against Andrew, as well as the heightened scrutiny over his past ties to Epstein and Maxwell stemming from her recent trial, has been swift.
Buckingham Palace announced in a statement on Thursday: “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
In their unsuccessful bid for dismissal of Giuffre’s case, the prince’s lawyers contended in legal filings and proceedings that her 2009 settlement with Epstein insulated Andrew from her lawsuit. Giuffre was awarded $500,000 in this settlement, which was unsealed on 3 January.
Their agreement featured a provision that stated it released “second parties and 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 [Giuffre], including state or federal, cause and causes of action”.
Andrew was not identified by name in this settlement.
Kaplan, who noted that Andrew’s attempts at dismissing Giuffre’s suit mostly relied on this agreement, said it would be premature of him to toss her suit based on this question.
“The court’s job at this juncture is simply to determine whether there are two or more reasonable interpretations of that document. If there are, the determination of the ‘right’ or controlling interpretation must await further proceedings.”
Given Kaplan’s ruling, Prince Andrew is poised to face lengthy, and embarrassing, legal proceedings. Although most US lawsuits settle rather than proceed to trial, Giuffre’s attorney, David Boies, has said that she is unlikely to accept a “purely financial settlement”.