Prince Andrew urged to challenge settlement with Virginia Giuffre
An American lawyer who was accused of sex abuse by the woman who sued Prince Andrew has urged him to challenge the legal settlement with her.
Alan Dershowitz was accused of sexual assault by Virginia Giuffre but she dropped the claim in November, saying that she may have made a mistake in identifying him.
Prince Andrew is said to believe her credibility has been undermined and has instructed top Hollywood lawyers Blair Berk and Andrew Brettler to look at potentially overturning the settlement, reported to be around £9.7 million, that he struck with Ms Giuffre last February.
Mr Dershowitz told The Telegraph that Prince Andrew should try to overturn the settlement and he believed it was a “mistake” not to take the case to trial.
“I have never understood why he accepted the settlement,” he said. “There were many, many good defences he could have raised. I’ve thought right from the beginning, as soon as the deal was done, it was a mistake to do it. He should pursue every legal remedy and the media should investigate thoroughly all of the allegations because this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
He added: “I think that the media ought to do a deep investigation to determine the whole truth.
“Everybody should be interested in the truth coming out, the whole truth about everything and it’s very important for the media to start digging deeply into all the allegations and do their due diligence on it … That’s what should be reported, not just one side of the story.”
Plan to clear his name
The Duke is thought to be eying a potential return to public duties with a plan to clear his name. Prince Andrew is understood to be confident that Ms Giuffre’s credibility has been severely compromised after she withdrew the allegation against Dershowitz, and that he may be able to win a retraction or even an apology over her claims that he raped and abused her three times when she was 17.
Ms Giuffre is expected to detail the years of sexual abuse that she suffered at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted paedophile, and others in a new book.
The publication will come as a one-year gagging clause, signed by Ms Giuffre and the Duke as part of their out-of-court deal, is lifted next month.
This follows The Telegraph last week publishing a picture of the bath in which the Duke is alleged to have engaged in sexual activity with Ms Giuffre, then a teenage girl. Two of Ghislaine Maxwell’s acquaintances are seen sitting in the bath, fully clothed, wearing makeshift masks depicting the Duke and Virginia Giuffre in an effort to prove it was too small for the kind of behaviour alleged by Ms Giuffre.
Berk has previously been described by unnamed colleagues in the tabloids as being nicknamed the Rottweiler. While Berk said she had never known anyone to call her that to her face, she thought the nickname was “fun”.
“I don’t know how the tabloids picked that up or invented it, but it was incredibly fun to hear that someone was calling me a dog,” she told a podcast last year.
Her clients have included Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul found guilty of rape. She has represented a host of other celebrities including Mel Gibson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon and Britney Spears.
Brettler has also represented high-profile clients including Armie Hammer and Chris Noth. Asked by Variety last year what he could say about the Duke’s lawsuit, Brettler said: “That case has been resolved – dismissed by the court pursuant to a settlement that the parties reached. It’s over.”
Berk and Brettler recently set up a new boutique law firm in Los Angeles and, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, said clients would benefit from their experience in both civil and criminal law.
“Many of Andrew’s civil litigation clients will fortunately never have any need to walk down and visit my side of the firm, and vice versa, but there are a number of cases where a client can have both potential civil and criminal exposure,” Berk said. “Our experience has been that a client can be really benefited by having attorneys expert in navigating both areas who appreciate how one can really impact the other.”