Prince Andrew’s lawyers want to interview Virginia Giuffre’s husband and her psychologist about her sexual abuse claims after the royal suggested she may suffer from “false memories”, court documents have revealed.
The Duke of York’s legal team has asked permission to take evidence under oath from Robert Giuffre, saying he is likely to have information about his wife’s “alleged emotional and psychological harm”.
Andrew’s lawyers also want to question Mr Giuffre about his wife’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell and the claim that Ms Giuffre had a “role in recruiting underage girls” for Epstein’s sex-trafficking scheme.
Andrew accuser ‘recruited young women for Epstein’
Andrew’s lawyer Melissa Lerner says it is alleged that Mr Giuffre met his wife in Thailand in about 2002 when she was attending a massage training course and “recruiting one or more women to perform sexual acts for Jeffrey Epstein, who funded the trip”.
A request has also been made to interview Ms Giuffre’s psychologist Dr Judith Lightfoot, as Andrew’s legal team say she has “relevant information” about her “alleged abuse by Epstein and Maxwell, childhood abuse and trauma, and claimed emotional and psychological harm and damages”.
“Dr Lightfoot’s records (or lack thereof) reflecting (Ms Giuffre’s) allegations against (Andrew) is relevant to preparation of his defence for trial,” Ms Lerner writes.
Andrew’s lawyers have asked to take evidence from Mr Giuffre and Dr Lightfoot in Australia, where they are both residents, by 29 April.
The latest court documents contain a summary of Andrew’s defence which says he contends that Ms Giuffre “may suffer from false memories” because her claims about “the circumstances under which (he) allegedly assaulted her have repeatedly changed over the years”.
Andrew argues that Ms Giuffre’s decision to reveal her identity and take part in media interviews “contributed to any purported emotional distress and invasion of privacy she claims to have suffered”, the documents say.
The royal denies Ms Giuffre’s accusations “in full” and he believes that she claims to have been trafficked by Epstein “in an effort to deflect from her own participation” in the financier’s sex trafficking scheme, according to his defence summary.
This included recruiting young women “to become sexual partners for Epstein”, at least one of whom was just 14 years old, the duke’s lawyers allege.
Who has Virginia Giuffre called as witnesses?
It comes after lawyers for Ms Giuffre sought witness accounts from Andrew’s former assistant Robert Olney and a woman called Shukri Walker, who claims to have seen the royal “with a young girl” in London’s Tramp nightclub.
Documents submitted by Ms Giuffre’s legal team say that Mr Olney’s name appears in Jeffrey Epstein’s phone book under “Duke of York”.
They say this means it is likely Mr Olney has relevant information about Andrew’s travel to and from Epstein’s properties during the relevant period.
The documents say that Ms Walker allegedly saw the royal “with a young girl around the time that (Ms Giuffre) contends Prince Andrew abused her in London after visiting Tramp Nightclub.”
The duke is due to face a civil trial later this year after Judge Kaplan rejected his attempt to have the case thrown out.
Ms Giuffre is suing Andrew in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager and claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s friend, convicted sex offender Epstein, to have sex with the duke when she was 17.
Andrew has strenuously denied the allegations.
Following the judge’s decision to allow the civil trial to go ahead, the Queen stripped Andrew of all of his military titles and royal patronages – and it was announced he will no longer style himself “His Royal Highness”.
Meanwhile, Maxwell will be sentenced at the end of June after being found guilty of recruiting underage girls to be sexually abused by her ex-boyfriend, Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.