While Prince Andrew rarely came up in the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the fact that the disgraced British socialite was convicted of five out of six charges related to the late billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged abuse of young girls is not good news for the royal.
CNN reported that Andrew is currently facing a civil lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre in which she claims that she was forced to have sex with the royal when she was an underage 17 year-old. Oral arguments in this case are set to start on January 4, and Andrew has categorically denied her accusations. If Andrew’s lawyers are not able to get this suit dismissed, the royal could face a trial date between September and December of 2022.
Though Maxwell did not take the stand during her trial, there’s no guarantee that she also won’t do so in the expected appeal of her conviction, or if Andrew’s civil case goes to court. Legal experts say that she could also try to reduce her sentence by giving authorities any potentially incriminating information she may have about other people like Andrew.
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“Maxwell may now have more to say on the whole subject, following her conviction,” said Nick Goldstone, UK-based head of dispute resolution at international law firm Ince.
“If Maxwell has incriminating information and evidence regarding Prince Andrew or indeed any other person who participated in unlawful conduct in association with Jeffrey Epstein, then I think the Prince and any others may well have a lot to fear from a sentence bargaining process,” Goldstone added. “On the other hand, if Prince Andrew has done nothing wrong, he should have nothing to fear from sentence bargaining by Maxwell.”
Professor Felicity Gerry, a UK barrister and international legal expert, said that Maxwell testifying during her appeal was “unlikely as this would probably involve an examination of the trial evidence — similar to the Cardinal Pell trial in Australia.”
However, Gerry added that Andrew might have cause for concern if there is sentence bargaining in Maxwell’s case.
“Sentence bargaining can occur if she decides to give or has given information,” Gerry said. “This could implicate many people including Prince Andrew. She certainly has nothing to lose now that she is facing a significant sentence.”
Goldstone chimed back in to say that both the outcome and timing of the Maxwell verdict could be bad for Andrew.
“Obviously the Maxwell verdicts are potentially very bad news for Prince Andrew, particularly as they come hard on the heels of his latest tactical move to argue a highly technical argument over a lack of jurisdiction of the New York Court to hear Ms. Giuffre’s claim on the basis of nationality and her current residence,” he said. “I think it is beyond doubt that Ms. Giuffre was a US citizen at the time of the alleged incidents, which are the subject of her complaint against the Prince, irrespective of her current usual place of residence.”