Here's what the Jeffrey Epstein documents say about Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew is back in the spotlight amid a release of court documents related to Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking ring.

Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves after attending for the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in eastern England, on December 25, 2023. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is back in the spotlight over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. (Getty Images)

A new round of documents from a lawsuit connected to the late billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein were unsealed on Monday, adding to the hundreds of files released since last week.

The latest release of 17 documents are part of a 2015 civil claim by Virginia Giuffre against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who is already serving a 20-year jail sentence for aiding a sex-trafficking ring on behalf of Epstein. A US judge ordered hundreds of documents to be unsealed as part of Giuffre’s previously settled claim.

Several celebrities and politicians including Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, magician David Copperfield, Cameron Diaz and Bruce Willis were named in the filings, although some have denied associating with Epstein, and the naming of individuals does not indicate any wrongdoing.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, had already come under intense scrutiny in 2019 over his friendship with Epstein and visits to his private Caribbean island when the tycoon was charged with sex trafficking. Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan prison cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial. His death was ruled a suicide.

The duke, who strenuously denies any wrongdoing, was accused by Giuffre of sexually abusing her when she was 17 – a minor under US law – having been trafficked by Epstein. In March 2022 Andrew paid an undisclosed out-of-court settlement to his accuser, whom he claimed to have never met, while accepting no liability.

The scandal nonetheless forced Andrew to step down as a working royal, but now the further release of documents has thrust him back into the spotlight.

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Undated handout photo issued by the US Department of Justice (left-right) of the Duke of York, Virginia Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell. The well-known photograph showing the Duke of York next to Virginia Giuffre is reportedly genuine, according to evidence obtained by the Mail on Sunday. Said to be taken inside the Mayfair home of disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted of sex trafficking, the picture shows Andrew with his arm around Ms Giuffre. Issue date: Saturday January 28, 2023.
The Duke of York pictured with Virginia Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell in Mayfair, central London. (Alamy)

Sex tape allegation

Among the latest claims to be made, according to a court document released on Monday, is that sex tapes were taken of the Duke of York, former US President Bill Clinton and billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson.

The court documents show that Epstein victim Sarah Ransome wrote emails claiming the three men were filmed having sex with a friend of hers on separate occasions by the financier. In the document released on Monday, Ransome said her friend "eventually had the courage to speak out and went to the police in 2008 to report what had happened". She added: "Nothing was done and she was utterly humiliated by the police department where she went to report what had happened with Epstein, Clinton, Branson and Prince Andrew.”

A Virgin Group spokeswoman said on behalf of Branson: “In a New Yorker report published in 2019, Ransome admitted that she had ‘invented’ the tapes. We can confirm that Sarah Ransome’s claims are baseless and unfounded.”

The emails appeared in the unsealed court documents after being flagged by a firm representing Epstein’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, to demonstrate Ransome “manifestly lacks credibility”. The New Yorker article referred to by Virgin is a profile of Dershowitz and includes the sentence: "Ransome told me [journalist Connie Bruck] that she had invented the tapes to draw attention to Epstein’s behaviour, and to make him believe that she had 'evidence that would come out if he harmed me'."

Despite failing to produce evidence of the tapes, Ransome told ITV's Good Morning Britain on Tuesday that "there are videos that exist". Appearing to double down on her claim, she told the show she is sure the people who know the alleged tapes exist “are very frightened of them being released”.

She continued: “It’s no secret that everything was recorded. Multiple victims have come forward confirming my account, along with others. I’ve also seen recordings in his office.” Explaining why she backtracked on the initial claim, she said: “In the time I was with Epstein, him, Ghislaine Maxwell amongst others would regularly enforce that if I ever did come forward, myself and my family would be harmed.”

In a statement to CNN following the release of the first tranche of documents, a spokesperson for Clinton said he had no knowledge of Epstein's crimes, adding that it has "been nearly 20 years since President Clinton last had contact with Epstein”.

Yahoo News has contacted Buckingham Palace and representatives of Bill Clinton for comment.

Sarah Ransome, an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, arrives to the courthouse for the start of Maxwell's trial in New York, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Two years after Jeffrey Epstein's suicide behind bars, a jury is set to be picked Monday in New York City to determine a central question in the long-running sex trafficking case: Was his longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's puppet or accomplice? (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Sarah Ransome appears to have doubled down on her claims about sex tapes, without providing evidence (Alamy)

Bath-sex claim challenged

The newly released documents also include an extract challenging Giuffre's account of allegedly having a bath with Prince Andrew in Maxwell's London townhouse when she was 17.

Giuffre told BBC Panorama in 2019: "There was a bath and it started there and then led into the bedroom. It didn’t last very long, the whole entire procedure. It was disgusting. He wasn’t mean or anything but he got up and he said, ‘Thanks’, and walked out.”

However, an unsealed 2017 deposition by Maxwell's solicitor Philip Barden claims the bathtub was “too small for a man of Prince Andrew’s size to enjoy a bath in let alone sex”. He said Giuffre’s “story” alleging Andrew had sex with her “caused a feeding frenzy for the press”, and called on the media to “cease and desist” from continuing to publish, saying they faced “higher damages for ignoring my clear warning” if they continued.

Maxwell is also previously said to have argued the tub – reported to be a standard size 5ft 6in by 2ft 4in bath and boxed in on three sides by walls – was too small for sex.

'Andrew groped my breast at Manhattan party', alleged victim claims

The King’s brother was also accused by Johanna Sjoberg of groping her breast while posing with what is reported to have been a puppet of himself in Epstein’s Manhattan home in 2001.

Sjoberg says she met Andrew when she was brought to Epstein's New York home in 2001 by Maxwell, while Giuffre was also visiting. Sjoberg said she didn't know who the duke was at first until Maxwell fetched a caricature puppet of him from the BBC comedy show Spitting Image.

She claims she then sat on Andrew's lap, with Giuffre sat beside him on the couch with the puppet in her own lap, CBS reports. The group are then alleged to have taken a photo together, with the Andrew puppet used to grope Giuffre's breast, and Andrew himself groping Sjoberg's.

Questioned over whether Sjoberg and Giuffre were in the presence of the duke with the puppet, Maxwell said: “I don’t recollect the story as told by Johanna or Virginia. I don’t even know who – I remember the caricature of Prince Andrew and I remember Prince Andrew but I don’t recall anything else around the caricature.”

She insisted that neither she nor billionaire sex offender Epstein gave the duke the puppet as a gift but said Andrew did not bring it with him, confirming there was a “caricature of Prince Andrew that was in Jeffrey’s home”.

SANDRINGHAM, NORFOLK - DECEMBER 25: Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh leave the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
The Duke of York, pictured at Christmas outside Sandringham Church, has been largely out of the public eye following the scandal. (Getty Images)

What does the release of new documents mean for Prince Andrew?

Despite Prince Andrew continually denying wrongdoing, his reputation is unlikely to recover from the Epstein scandal.

He had already become the subject of much public ridicule after his disastrous Newsnight interview in which he claimed he had an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War left him with a medical condition which meant he "couldn't sweat" - thus disproving Giuffre's account of his sweaty dancing in a London nightclub.

As the story became more and more of an embarrassment to the Royal Family, he was cast out of the working monarchy, stripped of his royal patronages and no longer uses his HRH title. According to reports the King is preparing to withdraw private funding for the security operation at the duke's home.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, but The Telegraph said Andrew will have to fund the multi-million-pound security costs at Royal Lodge himself if he wants to stay in the 30-room mansion in Windsor Great Park. The move will be seen as the monarch distancing himself publicly from his younger brother.

As more claims come to light amid the current release of documents, the Metropolitan Police has said it will assess any “new and relevant” information from the documents when it is brought to officers’ attention. However, despite anti-monarchy group Republic reporting allegations made against the royal, the force has said it is not currently investigating claims against the Duke of York in the latest court filings.