04 January 2024

Journalist helped ‘concoct’ sex assault claims against Andrew, Maxwell claimed

04 January 2024

Disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell claimed a journalist helped Virginia Giuffre “concoct” sexual assault allegations against the Duke of York, court documents have revealed.

A US judge ordered hundreds of documents to be unsealed as part of Ms Giuffre’s previously settled civil claim against Maxwell, which was filed in 2015.

In one document from 2016, which was released on Thursday, Maxwell’s lawyers made submissions that journalist Sharon Churcher should be compelled to give evidence as part of the case.

The socialite’s legal team claimed Ms Churcher was “aware” the allegations made by Ms Giuffre against Prince Andrew were “false” and said she “helped manufacture some of the stories that have been denied”.

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

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.

He strenuously denies any wrongdoing.

The document showed that Maxwell’s legal team accused Ms Churcher, who was working for the Mail on Sunday, of explaining to Ms Giuffre “how she can corroborate a story to tell the FBI – that she was ‘given to’ Prince Andrew”.

Her legal team also alleged that a handwritten diary by Ms Giuffre, which contained information about her alleged encounter with Andrew, was a “completely fabricated document”.

So far just over 40 out of around 250 documents have been released in connection with the case.

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