The New York sex abuse case against Prince Andrew was weakened because prosecutors in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial failed to call his accuser as a witness, it was claimed last night.
Jeffrey Epstein’s former lawyer Alan Dershowitz insisted the fact the Maxwell jury didn’t hear from Virginia Giuffre was because the authorities don’t believe she is telling the truth.
But critics pointed out Mr Dershowitz is also accused of sexual abuse by Ms Roberts, said that taints his opinion on the case and slammed the BBC for interviewing him on the subject without giving any context.
And royal experts said there was ‘no way back’ for Andrew’s reputation now the Maxwell verdicts are in regardless of the outcome of the case against him.
Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz both deny all the allegations against them.
Mr Dershowitz, 83, who was formerly Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyer, told the BBC he thought the case against Andrew was ‘weakened considerably’ after the Maxwell trial.
‘I think the most important thing for British viewers is that the Government was very careful as to who it used as witnesses,’ he said.
Few references to the Prince have not been accompanied by the photograph of him with his arm round the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at Ms Maxwell’s mews house in London, an occasion which he claims not to recall
The BBC labelled Alan Dershowitz a ‘lawyer’ without saying he represented Jeffrey Epstein and is also accused by Virginia Giuffre
‘It did not use as a witness the woman who accused Prince Andrew, who accused me, who accused many other people, because the Government did not believe that she was telling the truth.
‘And in fact that she, Virginia Giuffre, was mentioned in the trial as someone who brought young people to Epstein for him to abuse.
‘So this case does not do anything at all in any way to strengthen the case against Prince Andrew.
‘In fact it weakens the case against Prince Andrew considerably because the government was very selective in who it used.
‘It used only witnesses it believed were credible and they deliberately did not use the main witness, the woman who started the whole investigation, Virginia Giuffre because ultimately it did not believe that she was telling the truth.
‘They didn’t believe that a jury would believe her and they were right in doing so, so it was very smart on behalf of the government.’
The fact Mr Dershowitz was introduced on to the BBC News Channel as a ‘constitutional lawyer’, with no mention of his involvement in the case, drew condemnation last night. His claims about Ms Giuffre were not challenged by the interviewer.
Adam Wagner, a human rights barrister, said that the interview represented a ‘huge error by the BBC’.
However royal experts said that Prince Andrew’s reputation was ‘a busted flush’ regardless of what transpires in the case against him, because of his friendship with billionaire paedophile Epstein and now-convicted sex trafficker Maxwell.
The jury’s confirmation that Maxwell was the willing accomplice for the late Epstein will serve to place Andrew beyond the pale for his elder brother Prince Charles, who already saw him as a liability for the Royal Family.
The Duke of York’s lawyers will try to have the civil lawsuit brought by his accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre thrown out of court early next month.
But last night’s result will make that much more difficult.
And royal observers believe that even a victory for Andrew at that stage – or at a full trial expected in the Autumn – would still not be enough to remove the stigma attached to his name over his friendship with Epstein.
And the sensational verdict in Maxwell’s case will have done nothing to bolster confidence in Andrew’s camp at having Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit dismissed.
Prince Andrew strongly denies Ms Giuffre’s (pictured at court in New York on August 27, 2019) allegations that he slept with her as a 17-year-old sex slave after she claimed to have been trafficked to him at the London house
‘He’s a busted flush,’ one seasoned royal expert told MailOnline. ‘Unfortunately for Andrew, it’s no longer so much about evidence and proof, or what if anything went on with Virginia Giuffre — it’s all about public perception.
‘Andrew’s handling of this whole affair, coupled with his car crash Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, have made him into a toxic brand for the rest of the Royal Family.
‘Only the Queen, who has always considered him as her favourite, remains loyal, while the other Royals are keen to keep him at arm’s length.’
Officially, Andrew’s position is that he has ‘stepped back’ from royal duties while the court case is resolved, but it’s difficult to envisage how he could once again take his place in public life in the same way as previously.
Last night Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing many of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims in several cases, said anyone connected to the paedophile financier should be ‘concerned’.
‘I think anyone who was associated with Jeffrey Epstein, who either participated in sexual abuse, or helped him by sending girls to him, trafficking, etc, should be very concerned today about this verdict.’
She added: ‘The case [against Prince Andrew] has been filed, it has been served after various attempts on his behalf to duck service. Eventually the courts said “you’ve been served, move forward”.
‘Now he is trying to get the case thrown out on some technical grounds, he says Virginia is not a resident of the United States, that she’s really a resident of Australia, therefore the case should not be heard here.
‘He seems to be doing everything he can to avoid the case being decided on its merits, hoping to get it thrown out on technical grounds, so we’ll see what the judge does.’
Said it was possible that the case could be thrown out but Virginia says she has residency of the US in Colorado.
‘She has outstanding attorneys.
‘I am rooting for her and I hope the case is decided on its merits, so that her dispute with Prince Andrew, and whether he sexually assaulted her can ultimately be decided once and for all by a jury.’
That case is likely to dominate the news heading through the early part of 2022.
At the moment, the Duke is not expected to play any high-profile part in the forthcoming commemorations for the 40th anniversary of the Falklands war in June, despite his role on active service as a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter pilot during the 1982 conflict.
Prince Andrew first met Ghislaine Maxwell when she was at university and the pair had known each other for nearly 20 years when she is alleged to have introduced him to Epstein
Ghislaine Maxwell (right) and the American financier (left) were believed to be dating at the time and the Duke subsequently struck up a friendship with Epstein
As a veteran, Prince Andrew would be perfectly entitled to attend any of the events to mark the recapture of Port Stanley, but it is understood that no official invitations have been extended.
Prince Andrew was frequently mentioned by the prosecution in the trial, as a friend of Epstein and Maxwell, a visitor to the billionaire’s townhouse in Manhattan and his private island Little St James – and as having travelled at least four times on the infamous ‘Lolita Express’, Epstein’s private jet.
Few references to the Prince have not been accompanied by the photograph of him with his arm round the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at Ms Maxwell’s mews house in London, an occasion which he claims not to recall.
Prince Andrew strongly denies Ms Giuffre’s allegations that he slept with her as a 17-year-old sex slave after she claimed to have been trafficked to him at the London house. It has even been reported at one stage that ‘sources close to Andrew’ suggested the photo could have been faked.
That said, his team must have breathed a sigh of relief over the fact that Ms Giuffre was never called to the stand to give evidence during the Maxwell trial, despite being ‘available to do so’.
In a hearing on Saturday, prosecutors taunted Maxwell’s defence lawyers by saying they could have invited Miss Roberts to take the stand but had chosen not to. Andrew Rohrbach said: ‘The most obvious witness who was available to both sides and who we expect the defence to comment on is Virginia Roberts, who was described as a victim but did not testify and she was fully available to the defendants. They did not call her.’
A source close to the Duke told MailOnline: ‘This was Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial – not the Duke’s. Nothing new of any substance has been raised in relation to the Duke – any mentions have been glancing blows, not body blows.’
Prince Andrew first met Maxwell when she was at university and the pair had known each other for nearly 20 years when she is alleged to have introduced him to Epstein.
She and the American financier were believed to be dating at the time and the Duke subsequently struck up a friendship with Epstein.
It was that relationship which allegedly saw him make multiple visits to Epstein’s homes and his island.
Those who have known Prince Andrew for decades say he is a victim of his own boorish, entitled arrogance and his biggest mistake – and one which many other high-profile individuals also made, not least former US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, was to allow himself to associate with the likes of a man like Epstein at all
Andrew’s lawyers will bring their motion to the District Court in New York next month, seeking a dismissal. Court filings state that he ‘unequivocally denies’ sexually abusing or assaulting Ms Giuffre.
His lawyer Andrew Brettler states in the court papers that ‘accusing a member of the world’s best known royal family of serious misconduct has helped Giuffre create a media frenzy online and in the traditional press.
‘It is unfortunate, but undeniable, that sensationalism and innuendo have prevailed over the truth.
‘Giuffre has initiating this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense and a the expense of those closest to him Epstein’s abuse of Giuffre does not justify her public campaign against Prince Andrew’.
Those who have known Prince Andrew for decades say he is a victim of his own boorish, entitled arrogance and his biggest mistake – and one which many other high-profile individuals also made, not least former US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, was to allow himself to associate with the likes of a man like Epstein at all.
‘Andrew is out in the cold now and likely to stay there, whatever happens’ said one who has met the Duke many times over the years. ‘He doesn’t help himself with his couldn’t-care-less attitude, which makes people resent him.
‘I don’t think we’re likely to see much of him in the future, whatever happens in the civil case in New York, because he’ll find it impossible to shake off this stigma.
‘He’s likely to see out his days as a rather lonely figure riding out in Windsor Great Park and possibly assisting the Queen behind the scenes, but it seems very unlikely we’ll see him doing public engagements again.’