Gruelling deposition where ‘NOTHING is off limits’: Prince Andrew faces being quizzed for seven-hours on video with embarrassing questions on his sex life and ‘private parts’ and what he has told the Queen
Prince Andrew is certain to be questioned about the size and shape of his manhood if he fails to settle with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, eminent US lawyers said today.
And in more humiliation for the Royal Family, his ex-wife Sarah, the Duchess of York and their daughters Beatrice and Eugenie are also likely to be deposed for questioning over Andrew’s sex life and alibis.
Andrew himself will face a no-holds-barred taped video interview lasting seven hours, without breaks, all under oath. If he is found to have lied, he could be charged with perjury if a judge decides he has lied.
His disastrous BBC Newsnight interview means Ms Giuffre’s may even try to interview Prince Charles and perhaps even attempt ‘the impossible’ and summon the Queen to give evidence about what her second son has told her, according to a lawyer who represented Jeffrey Epstein‘s victims.
Her New York attorney David Boies said his team will seek to ‘depose between ten to 12 people’, and admitted this could include Fergie, Beatrice and Eugenie.
Florida litigator Spencer Kuvin said: ‘It is without question the Duke will be asked about his private parts. Nothing is off limits because if an underage girl can describe what the Duke of York’s private parts look like… how would that be if they had not had a relationship?’
Andrew’s medical records will also be requested, to ascertain if he is telling the truth about claims he cannot sweat due to a rush of adrenaline while on a Royal Navy ship under attack in the 1982 Falklands War fought between Britain and Argentina.
Mr Kuvin told the Mirror: ‘Andrew’s disastrous BBC Newsnight interview will haunt him. He mentioned his wife as well as his daughters. They can now all legally be deposed. The lawyers could even try for the Queen. I don’t doubt they will, but as a sovereign, it will be almost impossible to do’.
Andrew now faces a choice between settling Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s sex abuse lawsuit or going through a potentially ruinous court battle in which he would likely be questioned about his sexual history.
Prince Andrew is certain to be questioned about his sex life and the size and shape of his manhood if he fails to settle with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, lawyers claim
The Duke of York was pictured sitting in the back of a Range Rover this morning as he was being driven from his house in Windsor Great Park
A New York judge has sensationally ruled that the Queen’s second son can be tried over claims he sexually assaulted Miss Roberts when she was 17 — allegations which Andrew has categorically denied.
Is he ready for the great inquisitor?
Prince Andrew is now set to be grilled by Virginia Roberts’s ‘peerless’ lawyer.
David Boies, her 80-year-old New York attorney, is seen as the ‘greatest deposition-taker’ in modern American justice – when witnesses are interviewed under oath.
His services, for the princely sum of $2,000 (£1,460) an hour, are highly sought after.
He led the prosecution of Microsoft by the US government that saw the computing giant briefly split up. It is expected he will fly to the UK with members of his team to interview Andrew under oath. Former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner described him as ‘peerless’.
Mr Boies said last night: ‘Virginia is obviously very pleased with the court’s decision. It does not resolve the case on the merits, it simply rejects certain legal defences Prince Andrew was putting up to avoid a trial.’
Experts believe that Andrew, who earned the nickname ‘Playboy Prince’ as a bachelor, will want to reach an out-of-court and potentially multimillion-pound settlement with his accuser, or face having his private life be put in the spotlight in a blockbuster trial in nine months.
However, there have been suggestions that Miss Roberts, who claims she was trafficked by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and forced to have sex with Epstein and his associates while she was a minor under US law, may not be prepared to accept a deal.
Witnesses including Sarah Ferguson and Princess Beatrice could be asked to testify, Miss Roberts’s lawyer David Boies has claimed.
It is likely the duke will be asked to give evidence under oath as part of the discovery process in what is known as a deposition. However, he cannot be forced to appear in New York to defend himself due to the case being a civil suit in a different legal jurisdiction.
Andrew could simply refuse to acknowledge its existence — but the court would then pass a judgement in his absence, risking even more damage to his already-shattered reputation.
Last night, the royal’s lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic were locked in crisis talks after their motion to dismiss the civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Roberts was ‘denied in all respects’, meaning the case is now heading towards an unedifying trial this autumn.
The duke’s team now have a stark choice, legal experts said. They can either take the risk to press ahead and attempt to clear his name by going in front of a jury, which means Andrew would face the humiliation of having to give public testimony against lurid allegations of rape and sexual assault on oath.
Or he could try to persuade Miss Roberts to accept a multi-million pound settlement in order to avoid further damaging the reputation of the monarchy – but have the stain of the proceedings remain with him forever.
However, her New York attorney David Boies last night indicated that his client was determined to go to trial, saying: ‘She wants to achieve justice’, but added that while she is determined to go to trial, ‘settlement is always a possibility’.
The Duke of York was photographed with his arm around the bare waist of then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts. In the background, Ghislaine Maxwell. Roberts claims she was forced to have sex with the royal three times
99 out of 100 civil cases settle out of court in the United States.
Mr Boies added that his team will seek to ‘depose between ten to 12 people’, and admitted this could include Fergie, Beatrice and Eugenie.
If he chooses not to settle, or if Ms Giuffre rejects any offers, Andrew faces a trial and being interviewed by her lawyers in a videotaped deposition in London that could be played in court, although the ninth in line to the throne cannot be forced to give evidence due to it being a civil suit in a different legal jurisdiction.
Additionally, he could simply ignore the case and let the court give a decision in his absence, although this would be likely to damage his reputation further.
One former US federal prosecutor said: ‘This is a very, very bad day for Prince Andrew.’
Mitchell Epner told Sky News: ‘There are only bad options in front of him and he has to decide which of these bad options is his best bad option.’
The pressure for Andrew to settle out of court and spare the Queen the ignominy of a sordid public trial was growing last night as he was warned he was in ‘the last chance saloon with the towels over the taps’.
Andrew’s £2,000-an-hour legal team were last night locked in talks amid the ‘biggest constitutional crisis in living memory’, and believe that the key could be his chalet in Verbier, according to The Sun.
There has been speculation that the Queen could be bankrolling the prince’s case, but experts believe it would be considered a PR disaster if she paid his accuser to end claims against her second on.
Miss Roberts’s lawyer Mr Boies hinted that a deal out of court could be reached, saying: ‘I think Virginia is determined to go to trial, but settlement is always a possibility’.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, he added: ‘There has been no suggestion of settlement discussions at this point. Prior to the time that we brought the case we reached out to Prince Andrew and to Prince Andrew’s lawyers and suggested mediation as a possible way of avoiding litigation.
‘There was no interest in that at that time whether that has changed or not, I think, we’ll have to wait and see. A purely financial settlement is not anything that I think that she is interested in.’
Miss Roberts alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrew on three occasions in 2001, when she was 17, and he knew she was a trafficking victim.
She says she was offered up to the prince and other wealthy and powerful friends of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell. Andrew strongly denies the claims.
The Duke of York has been urged to settle out of court ‘for the sake of his mother’, who celebrates her Platinum Jubilee this year, after his devastating defeat in a New York court yesterday.
Royal biographer Phil Dampier told LBC: ‘I think the only way out of this is for Prince Andrew to pay her off’.
MailOnline revealed this week that Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah, the Duchess of York, settled a £6.6 million debt with a French socialite, paving the way for him to sell his beloved ski chalet to fund his alleged sex abuse case.
Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, sold her house, Chalet Helora, to her then-friends Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for £18million, would be paid for in instalments. But Ms de Rouvre claimed the Yorks failed to make the final instalment of £5m for the property in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier – but this week the Yorks stumped up the cash, ending the legal battle and clearing the way for a sale.
With the chalet now on the market, the ninth in line to the throne will use up to £10million of the final sale price to settle with Ms Giuffre, according to The Sun, but without admission of liability to her claims she was forced to have sex with him three times when she was 17.
Mark Stephens, an expert in constitutional law, has said that Andrew will need to find between £5million and £10million to offer Ms Giuffre and hope she spares him a trial.
He said: ‘Judge Lewis Kaplan has thrown a reasoned judicial decision like a bomb into the middle and the heart of the royal family and threatens to provoke constitutional crisis as a consequence’.
He said the duke has ‘no good options’, adding: ‘Essentially, I think he’s either going to have to engage in the trial process or he’s going to have to settle and that may well be his least worst option.’ He added: ‘There is a need to limit the damage. Andrew, I suspect will be stripped of his royal titles. A settlement of five or ten million is a good bet but Ms Giuffre may want her day in court.’
How Prince Andrew got into this mess.. and why EVERY option he has is a nightmare
Judge Lewis A Kaplan’s decision is a huge blow for Andrew, who now faces having to testify in open court
What did the judge decide?
Judge Kaplan rejected a motion by Andrew’s lawyer to have Miss Roberts’s sex abuse lawsuit thrown out.
The duke’s team unsuccessfully argued that Miss Roberts had waived her right to pursue the duke by signing a confidential settlement with Epstein.
The settlement, made public earlier this month, detailed how Miss Roberts had received a $500,000 payout in 2009 and agreed to ‘release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharged’ Epstein and ‘any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant’.
Andrew B Brettler, the duke’s lawyer, had argued his client was a ‘potential defendant’ as defined by the agreement and so the case ‘should be dismissed’.
But in his decision, Judge Kaplan said the agreement ‘cannot be said’ to benefit Andrew. He stressed that his ruling does not express any view as to the truth of Miss Roberts’s allegations.
What happens next?
Legal experts say he could try to appeal, but the judge’s ruling seemed so comprehensive that his chances look bleak. And the case would not be paused while he tried it.
The focus is now on a sensational trial before a New York jury starting as early as September. Unless Andrew promptly settles the case or refuses to participate, a process of ‘discovery’ will begin.
This will see each side demand answers, documents and ‘depositions’ – in which they seek to interview witnesses under oath, including Andrew and Miss Roberts.
Miss Roberts has already sent the duke’s lawyers a shopping list of questions demanding proof of things he has claimed, including in his infamous 2019 Newsnight interview.
These include asking to see medical evidence he could not sweat due to a ‘peculiar medical condition’ which he said as he dismissed her claims that the pair had danced in a London nightclub. His lawyers have already said there are no documents available to address this.
Meanwhile, they will demand strict proof of everything Miss Roberts is claiming.
What are the duke’s legal option?
The duke has no good options, legal and royal commentators all agreed yesterday. To avoid the gruesome spectacle of the senior royal’s sex life being raked over in a Manhattan courtroom, he could either settle the case or ignore it.
He could agree to be interviewed but then ‘plead the fifth’, under America’s constitutional right to avoid incriminating himself.
If he refused to play any further part in the case, he risks being in ‘default’, with the judge ruling against him in his absence, branding him a sex abuser and ordering him to pay compensation. Andrew could ignore that too, but would then spend the rest of his life being pursued by bailiffs.
If he wanted to settle, Miss Roberts would have to agree – and her price is high, as she has made it clear that as well as money she would demand an apology and an admission of liability.
His options are:
Appealing today’s ruling: Andrew could file a motion of reconsideration to Judge Kaplan, asking him to reconsider his ruling. Or he could go straight to the second circuit court of appeals, where it would be heard by a panel of judges.
If they also reject his motion, he could ask a second full second circuit to consider it. Another option would be to go straight to the Supreme Court, which would then decide whether or not to hear the case.
Filing for a dismissal: He could seek to have the case dismissed by arguing that it cannot be heard in a US federal court because both he and Miss Roberts — who is an American citizen but lives in Australia — are based abroad.
Settlement: Most American court cases end in a financial settlement agreed out of court before the case reaches trial. She could seek to extract an apology or an admission of wrongdoing as part of the settlement, but Andrew has always strenuously denied the allegations.
Default: Andrew ignores the court summons, meaning the court will rule in his absence.
What are the chances of the duke seeking to settle?
Experts have argued that Andrew is a ‘dead man walking’ and will want to strike a deal with Miss Roberts.
Media lawyer Mark Stephens said Wednesday’s ruling that Andrew is to face a civil sexual assault trial has ‘thrown a bomb’ into the heart of the royal family and threatens to spark a constitutional crisis.
He told the BBC a crisis of this scale was unprecedented for the royal family.
‘Prince Andrew has nowhere to go. He’s effectively a dead man walking as far as the royal family is concerned,’ he said. ‘But the one thing he can do is to accept the responsibility, accept the blame, accept that he has to fall on his sword for the sake of the wider royal family.’
Insiders say the option to settle ‘remains on the table’.
Andrew’s team are understood to acknowledge the ‘attritional impact’ the case is having on the Royal Family, particularly as the Queen is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this June with the threat of a scandalous sex trial hanging over her.
‘Obviously, this is a US case involving US lawyers and involving a US civil lawsuit,’ one source said. ‘In reality, 99 per cent of US civil litigations are settled out of court. A settlement would always be an option on the table, as that’s where the vast majority end up. There is also the wider pressure and attritional impact to consider.’
Sources with knowledge of the case have previously told the Mail that no discussions have taken place yet about whether the Queen’s son could — or should — agree a settlement without liability being admitted. But neither had it been ruled out as an option, they said.
Buckingham Palace has refused to comment, describing it as an ‘ongoing legal matter’.
What dirty laundry could be aired in court if a settlement is not reached?
If a settlement is not reached, then the duke’s private life could effectively be put in the dock.
As a young man, the ‘Playboy Prince’ was one of the world’s most eligible bachelors and earned himself the nickname ‘Randy Andy’ after being linked to a string of beautiful women.
When a bachelor for a second time, Andrew again made headlines, having been spotted cavorting with topless women on holiday in Thailand, and attending a ‘hookers and pimps’ party with Robert Maxwell’s daughter Ghislaine in the US.
It is possible that should the lawsuit reach court, lawyers could drudge up Andrew’s sexual history and question him about everything from his sexual partners to the minutiae of his dealings with Epstein and with Maxwell, who has been convicted of sex trafficking.
Andrew also faced being grilled over his ability to sweat and his Pizza Express alibi.
During his ‘car crash’ BBC Newsnight interview in 2019, Andrew denied that he slept with Miss Roberts, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he had spent the day with his daughter Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.
The same alleged sexual liaison, which Miss Roberts said began with Andrew sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was later branded factually wrong by the duke, who said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.
As a result, it is possible that Andrew’s daughter Beatrice could testify in any US trial. It is also possible that Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson — who herself has generated some of the most humiliating royal scandals of modern times — could give evidence.
But a settlement would clearly do little to help the 61-year-old prince clear his name, and it is unlikely to help him achieve his long-held ambition of returning to public life in some form.
Interviews under oath?
Each side has said they will look for around a dozen depositions. These are video-recorded interviews under oath, with questions asked by the other side’s lawyers.
Andrew’s lawyers will seek to depose Miss Roberts and may seek to speak to her boyfriend and friends from the time, seeking to expose holes in her claims.
If Andrew gave a deposition, he is likely to be quizzed by Miss Roberts’s lawyer David Boies, who has said he will come to England.
Former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner explained: ‘There will be depositions, a sworn interview taking place in front of a court recorder – but not a judge – by the opposing counsel. Prince Andrew would likely give his first deposition in the UK but that would be under US oath.
‘He would be questioned by David Boies who is – as far as most American lawyers are concerned – without peer and is the greatest deposition-taker in modern American jurisprudence. This is a very, very bad day for Prince Andrew.’
If the duke was ever found to have lied in a deposition under oath, he could face a criminal charge for perjury.
Could Andrew be forced to appear in court?
Almost certainly not. Legal experts have said that Andrew could not be forcibly extradited due to it being a civil case.
Edward Grange, extradition expert and partner at Corker Binning, told MailOnline: ‘In short, extradition can not take place for as long as the case remains within the civil jurisdiction.
‘Prince Andrew would only be at peril of extradition if he were charged with a criminal offence in the USA that carries a sentence of imprisonment of 12 months or more.
‘Even then, whilst an extradition request could be made to the UK, no doubt careful thought would be given as to whether such steps should be taken given that it would be a very bold move for prosecutors to take because of the undoubted diplomatic headache it could cause for the two jurisdictions.’
Mr Grange added: ‘If he were to be charged with a criminal offence in the US and if the US were to seek his extradition, his British nationality would not result in a dismissal of the request as Britain extradites its own citizens.’
Submitting himself to a humiliating, forensic, public interrogation about his sex life in a New York courtroom is simply unthinkable for the Queen’s second son.
And even if he did believe that giving evidence in person would help him seize victory in this case – and judging by his performance under the Newsnight spotlights, it wouldn’t – just by travelling to America he would place himself in peril of being tracked by the FBI, who have been wanting to speak to him for more than two years about his relationship with Epstein.
A request to the British Government to facilitate a formal interview with Andrew, under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, is currently gathering dust in London. If the duke flew to America, he could easily fear the risk of being detained by the authorities and forced to submit to FBI questioning.
Could Meghan, Charles or Fergie be asked to testify?
Others who Miss Roberts’s side could target for a deposition include the duke’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and Princess Beatrice, after he made her trip to Pizza Express his alibi in his Newsnight interview.
Spencer Kuvin, a Florida lawyer who has represented several Epstein victims, said lawyers in the case could issue subpoenas to force people to attend a deposition.
These can be enforced within America and if someone refuses, ‘a US Marshal brings them in’. But those outside of the US could potentially simply ignore the request.
Mr Kuvin said: ‘You are going to see a lot of plane travel [of potential witnesses trying] to get out of the US in the coming weeks.’
The judge in the case has ordered a tight timeline, naming July 14 as the deadline for the discovery and deposition phases to be completed, to give both sides time to prepare for the explosive trial itself.
If Andrew loses the civil case could he face a criminal suit?
Defence attorney Julie Rendelman played down the prospect of any criminal charges being filed over Andrew’s case.
She told The Guardian: ‘I believe that [Maxwell] is the final piece in terms of criminal charges involving Epstein. I’m pretty confident prosecutors spent this time evaluating every piece of evidence to see if there is anything else.
‘I think they realised the strongest case is Ghislaine, and that’s what they went for.’
What’s the case against Andrew?
Miss Roberts launched her damages claim against Prince Andrew in August last year. She alleges she was recruited into a global child sex ring aged 16 by Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
Epstein killed himself in 2019, while his British socialite girlfriend was convicted of child sex trafficking at a sensational trial in New York last month.
Miss Roberts says Epstein and Maxwell began flying her around the country and abroad on his private jets and that she was required to have sex with Epstein’s ‘adult male peers, including royalty’.
She claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew on three occasions in 2001, once in London, in New York and on Epstein’s private Caribbean island.
Backing up her claims are flight logs – showing she and Andrew were in the same places at the times she alleges she was attacked.
And at Maxwell’s trial, Miss Roberts was not directly involved but the jury believed she had been a sex trafficking victim.
What’s the duke defence?
Andrew’s lawyers will highlight discrepancies in Miss Roberts’s claims and how her story has changed several times over the years. Details of dates, places and people have varied, which will all be seized upon as evidence that she cannot be believed.
And the duke’s lawyers say she did not even accuse Andrew of having sex with her until 2014, seven years after she first made her complaints against Epstein.
On her own account, Miss Roberts was over the age of consent when she claims she met Andrew, and the duke’s lawyers say that because she was 17, she must allege that she was either physically compelled or threatened in some way, and she has failed to do so.
They also allege she rose up within Epstein’s sex trafficking operation, suggesting that as an adult she was well paid when she herself began recruiting other teenagers.
Andrew’s attempts to avoid the case
Andrew vehemently denies all Miss Roberts’s claims, and told Newsnight he did not even remember meeting her, despite the notorious photograph of the pair which his friends have suggested was fake.
When she launched her legal action, the duke was accused of trying to ‘dodge, duck, run and hide’ in his mother’s palaces to avoid being served with her legal papers.
When this failed, he came out fighting, with his lawyers branding his accuser a ‘money-hungry sex kitten’ who had ‘initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday’.