An accuser of the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on Tuesday addressed her accusation that she was coerced into sex with Prince Andrew, saying the royal “knows what he’s done”.
Virginia Giuffre had already alleged in 2011 testimony that Andrew “knows the truth” about Epstein’s abuse of underage girls and said he should be made to testify. In a December 2014 court filing she alleged that she was made to have sex with Andrew and other friends of Epstein.
The prince has always vehemently denied the allegations. In 2015 a court decided that the allegations made by Giuffre about the prince were “immaterial and impertinent” and ordered them to be struck out of a claim against Epstein.
On Tuesday, Giuffre spoke to reporters outside federal court in Manhattan. She was one of nearly two dozen women who spoke about alleged sexual abuse by Epstein during a unique court proceeding scheduled after the financier’s death in prison on 10 August, which was ruled a suicide.
Epstein’s death at 66 brought an end to his criminal case but the judge gave accusers the opportunity to speak publicly.
“He knows what he’s done and he can attest to that,” Giuffre said about Prince Andrew, a video of the press conference showed. “He knows exactly what he’s done, and I hope he comes clean about it.”
Brad Edwards, a lawyer representing a number of Epstein accusers, said that “with respect to Prince Andrew or anyone else who made statements, gratuitous statements, if anyone wants to come over here and talk with us, and answer real questions that the victims have, and that we have on their behalf, we welcome that invitation.
“I personally extended that invitation to Prince Andrew multiple times. Any time, we are ready, and we have a lot of questions for him.”
Andrew said in a statement last Saturday that he made Epstein’s acquaintance in 1999 and saw him once or twice each year. The prince also said he stayed at several of Epstein’s homes.
He said he did not “see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to [Epstein’s] arrest and conviction”.
He added: “I have said previously that it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release [from prison] in 2010 and I can only reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know.”
The prince also said: “His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
“This is a difficult time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr Epstein’s lifestyle. I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.”