Now that Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty of sex-trafficking charges tied to her work as Jeffrey Epstein's de facto "madam", many legal observers expect that she will eventually be sentenced to a lengthy prison stay that could see her die behind bars. But as the world waits for her sentencing, attention is turning once again the civil courts, where Prince Andrew is fighting a high-profile lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts Guiffre, a prominent Epstein accuser who claims she was trafficked to Andrew when she was still underage.
The lawsuit was filed in the US by a woman who lives in Australia, against a member of the British royal family. Andrew's name came up during the Maxwell's trial, when Jeffrey Epstein's former pilot named names, though he wasn't officially named by prosecutors.
Now, an American judge has blocked two critical avenues for Prince Andrew to try and get around the lawsuit. Here's more from the Guardian:
Two of Prince Andrew’s avenues to prevent or stall the progression of Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s sex assault lawsuit against him were blocked on Saturday by a federal judge, increasing pressure to settle claims before a crucial court hearing this week.
Judge Lewis A Kaplan, in a written order, told the prince’s lawyers they must turn over documents on the schedule that has been set in the lawsuit brought by Guiffre who claims she was abused – aged 17 – by the prince on multiple occasions in 2001 while she was being sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The judge's decision comes ahead of a critical hearing in the case that's set for Tuesday. Also, the details of a 2009 settlement agreement between the now-deceased Epstein and Giuffre that lawyers for Prince Andrew had hoped would protect him from Guiffre’s claims are expected to be released on Monday. Among other things, the judge will decide Tuesday whether Giuffre's claims against the Prince are solid enough to merit a trial. All of this could greatly increase pressure on the Prince's lawyers to settle.
Giuffre’s lawyers have claimed that they have up to six witnesses linking the Duke to his accuser on the eve of the hearing into the civil lawsuit.
In another document, Andrew’s lawyers acknowledged that they couldn't provide documentary evidence that he has the "inability to sweat", one of the defenses employed by Prince Andrew to try and discredit Guiffre (although the reaction to the claim in the press was one of abject dismissal).
Meanwhile, on Saturday, it was revealed that David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre, had said that Ghislaine Maxwell should have "cut a deal" - the latest indication that Maxwell had the opportunity to turn states' witness against other high-profile individuals in Epstein's circle, a group that includes former President Bill Clinton as well as Prince Andrew.
"I have said publicly for five years that she was making a mistake in not going in and trying to cut a deal with prosecutors. She could have cut a very good deal early on but she passed up that opportunity. I think that’s proven to be a fatal mistake," Boies reportedly said.
See the judge's official dismissal below: