09 January 2024

Epstein grilled over ‘blackmail’ attempt after alleged Andrew sexual activities

09 January 2024

Paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein refused to answer questions over whether he attempted to blackmail the Duke of York after his alleged sexual encounter with Virginia Giuffre, court documents have revealed.

Epstein declined to answer almost all of the questions, also known as pleading the fifth amendment in the US, during his interview under oath as part of Ms Giuffre’s civil claim against disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

He was quizzed over whether he and Maxwell instructed Ms Giuffre to have sex with Andrew in 2001 and if the information gathered as part of the legal action “has the potential to affect the reputation” of the duke.

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.

He 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.

The duke strenuously denies any wrongdoing.

The transcript of Epstein’s interview, known as a deposition in the US, was released as part of the final tranche of documents to be published as part of Ms Giuffre’s 2015 civil claim against Maxwell.

In total, 215 documents have been “unsealed” over the course of five days after the media argued it was in the public interest to remove redactions which hid the names of individuals.

Ms Giuffre’s 2016 deposition was also released and featured her previously reported claims that Epstein paid her 15,000 dollars (£11,800) to have sex with Andrew, and allegations she was trafficked to another “foreign” prince, as well as a well-known prime minister who she refused to name over concerns for her safety.

“I did receive 15,000 dollars. I do not know the equivalent to what that is in pounds,” Ms Giuffre said, before she was quizzed by a lawyer on whether she paid tax on the amount, with Ms Giuffre replying “no”.

During Epstein’s deposition, Ms Giuffre’s counsel Paul Cassell asked: “In fact, it would be a fair assessment of all the circumstances surrounding this situation to say that you forced Virginia to have sex with Prince Andrew?”

After Epstein declined to answer, the lawyer continued: “What would have happened to Virginia if she had refused to have sex with Prince Andrew?”

Following another refusal to answer the question, Mr Cassell then asked Epstein: “Shortly after Prince Andrew and Virginia had sex, Virginia gave you a full report about the details of the sex, true?”

Mr Cassell also said: “Isn’t it true, sir, that Prince Andrew thanked you for making Virginia available to him for sexual purposes?”

Epstein declined to answer both questions.

Questioning Epstein on the alleged blackmail plot, Mr Cassell said: “You had previously instructed Virginia that she had to give you a full report on the details of what men like Prince Andrew did to her so that you would have blackmail material you could use, true?”

Epstein was also quizzed on what he knew about Andrew’s “sexual preferences”, and on whether Ms Giuffre had “recounted specific behaviour that Prince Andrew requested before sexual intercourse”.

The disgraced financier again declined to answer the questions.

Later in his interview, Epstein was also asked: “To your knowledge, Prince Andrew had sex with Virginia several times, right?”

Before finishing his questioning, Mr Cassell said: “This litigation has the potential to affect the reputation of Prince Andrew, right?”

Epstein refused to answer the questions.

Ms Giuffre, in her deposition, described how she was trafficked to the south of France by Epstein and Maxwell to a world leader who was a “prince”.

She said she did not know his name, but added: “He did speak foreign tongue, he spoke English as well, but I’m not too sure where he was from…I was introduced to him as a prince.”

Ms Giuffre also claimed former US president Bill Clinton visited Epstein’s private Caribbean island twice.

She said they had dinner together, but “Bill Clinton, he was never sexually involved with me. I’ve never witnessed him sexually involved with anybody else”.

However Ms Giuffre was asked during the deposition: “Is Bill Clinton a witness to the sexual abuse of minors?”

She replied: “Yes, he would be a witness because he knew what my purpose there was for Jeffrey and he visited Jeffrey’s island…There’s pictures of nude girls all around the house at all of his houses and it’s something that Jeffrey Epstein wasn’t shy about admitting to people.”

Mr Clinton has denied ever visiting the island.

Ms Giuffre also recounted how she burned a “booklet” she wrote detailing her alleged encounters with Andrew to get rid of “painful” memories.

The diary was written at the request of journalist Sharon Churcher, and Ms Giuffre said she gave the writer some of the original pages relating to the duke.

But she said she decided not to burn photographs at her then-Florida home in 2013 because “they’re evidence”.

“I wanted to get rid of it. It was very painful stuff,” she said.

She added: “I was burning like memories, thoughts, dreams that I had, just everything that was kind of affiliated with the abuse I endured, and there was a lot of it in there.

“My husband is pretty spiritual so he said the best thing to do would be burn them.”

Paedophile financier Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan, New York, in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide.

Maxwell has been imprisoned since July 2020 despite attempts by 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 2022.

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 scheduled to be heard in November next year.

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