Maxwell’s verdict bodes ill for Prince Andrew’s civil case

LONDON (AP) – Prince Andrew was not on trial in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking case, but his conviction is bad news for the man who sits ninth to the British throne.

LONDON (AP) – Prince Andrew was not on trial in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking case, but his conviction is bad news for the man who sits ninth to the British throne.

With the conclusion of Maxwell case, attention will now turn to a US civil action in which the plaintiff alleges that Maxwell and her longtime boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein took her to London, New York and the US Virgin Islands to have sex with Andrew when she was a minor.

Andrew denies the allegations, but Wednesday’s verdict shows at least a US jury was prepared to believe the young women trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell in a criminal case, where the standard of proof is higher than in cases civilians.

“As there is an overlap of evidence regarding Prince Andrew’s case, this certainly does not bode well,” said Bradley Simon, a former US federal prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney in cases complex civilians. “But, like I said, each case depends on its own specific facts and the judges will always give the jury instructions on that.”

Maxwell was convicted on Wednesday of sex trafficking and conspiracy charges after a month-long trial in New York City.

While US criminal cases must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, civil defendants can be ordered to pay damages if found liable on a preponderance of evidence.

The verdict is problematic for Andrew as he has long been friends with Maxwell, daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell. Even after Epstein was charged with sex crimes, Andrew didn’t distance himself from her.

These ties have already diminished the prince’s reputation.

Andrew was forced to step down as an active member of the Royal Family after a disastrous 2019 interview with the BBC that only heightened public concern over his ties to Epstein and Maxwell. The prince has been widely criticized for explaining why he maintained contact with Epstein after the financier was accused of sexual misconduct and for failing to empathize with Epstein’s victims.

Although the Maxwell trial offered no sensational new allegations about Andrew, it once again reminds people of the sordid allegations and weakens his position with the public, said Chris Scott of Slateford, a law firm. Londoner specializing in reputation issues.

“It just adds credibility to people’s stories,” Scott told The Associated Press. “You now have a decision from a criminal court in the United States that there was trafficking going on. In a way, it becomes a lot harder for people to think of this as all being made up when you’ve built that credibility. So I think it will be very problematic for him.

The civil lawsuit against Andrew was filed last August by Virginia Giuffre, who says she was 17 when she was flown to London to have sex with Andrew at Maxwell’s house in a neighborhood Belgravia crested which is home to many foreign embassies and wealthy expatriates. Further meetings with Andrew took place at Epstein’s home in Manhattan and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to his lawsuit.

Giuffre, who was not in the criminal case, described Maxwell as a “Mary Poppins” figure who put young girls at ease when drawn to Epstein’s web.

It was at Maxwell’s London home that a photo of Andrew with his arm around Giuffre’s waist was reportedly taken – an image which has long been at the heart of Giuffre’s claims. In the BBC interview, Andrew suggested the image had been rigged.

“I have no recollection of having met this lady,” he said. “Not at all.”

Given the high stakes for Andrew, one question surrounding the civil suit is whether it will ever stand trial. Gloria Allred, who represents a number of Epstein’s victims, told the BBC she expects lawyers for the prince to file a series of procedural challenges in an attempt to derail the case.

This strategy has already been outlined.

Andrew initially denied receiving any legal documents informing him of the trial. Then, in October, her attorneys asked Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the prince had never sexually assaulted Giuffre and that they believed she sued Andrew “to get her another salary. costs and at the expense of those close to her. ”Last week they mounted another challenge, arguing that Giuffre’s lawsuit should be dismissed because she no longer lives in the United States.

Andrew met Maxwell while studying history at the University of Oxford in the early 1980s.

Like her great and well-connected father, Ghislaine Maxwell has become a master of networking, building a long list of contacts in the world of wealth and power in which she grew up.

After graduating, she worked for the Home Publishing Empire in a variety of roles. In 1991, at the age of 29, she became her father’s emissary to the United States after buying the New York Daily News amid efforts to compete with her fellow media mogul – and owner of the New York. Post – Rupert Murdoch.

Robert Maxwell died later that year after falling from his yacht – the Lady Ghislaine – in the Canary Islands, an event some viewed as an accident and others as suicide. Investors soon discovered that his wealth was just an illusion: Maxwell had embezzled hundreds of millions of pounds from his corporate pension funds to support his editorial empire.

Shortly after her father’s death, Ghislaine Maxwell was pictured sitting next to Epstein during a memorial event at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

Maxwell brought star power to his relationship with Epstein, and the two soon attended parties with Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Andrew would later invite Maxwell and Epstein to Windsor Castle and Sandringham, the home of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ian Maxwell said on Thursday that the family still believe his sister is innocent and support efforts to appeal his conviction.

“We are very disappointed with the verdict,” the family said in a statement Wednesday. “We have already made the appeal tonight and we believe it will ultimately be justified.”

Andrew has sought in recent years to distance himself from Epstein, who committed suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking.

Andrew told the BBC he sees Epstein no more than three times a year and sometimes stays in one of his homes while in the United States.

The prince said he stopped meeting with Epstein in 2006 after learning about a sexual abuse investigation that ultimately resulted in the financier serving 13 months in prison. Andrew said he had one last meeting with Epstein in December 2010 to tell him they couldn’t keep in touch.

“It would be a stretch to say that he was a very, very close friend,” Andrew said.

Danica Kirka, The Associated Press

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