An accuser of Jeffrey Epstein has alleged Prince Andrew was “an abuser, a participant” in the disgraced US financier’s exploitation of her as a teenager, in her first television interview.
Virginia Giuffre, formerly Roberts, who was pictured with Prince Andrew in a now notorious photograph, spoke to the US network TV station NBC News about her involvement with Epstein, a convicted sex offender who killed himself in a New York jail in August while facing fresh child sex trafficking charges.
The interview was due to air late on Friday night in the US but there were clips of it on the morning news shows. In them Giuffre tells how Epstein directed her to have sex with other powerful men in his orbit, including, she said, the Queen’s second oldest son, Andrew.
Giuffre has previously alleged she was recruited by Epstein when she was 15 and was coerced into sexual activity with him and associates in return for payments
She 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 claimed she was made to have sex with Andrew, among other friends of the financier. 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 defamation claim against Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell.
The prince hosted Epstein and Maxwell, a daughter of the late, disgraced British newspaper publisher Robert Maxwell. Ghislaine Maxwell has been accused of assisting Epstein’s abuse, but denies any wrongdoing.
Giuffre told NBC news anchor Savannah Guthrie about her allegation that Maxwell played a crucial role in the financier’s alleged sex trafficking racket.
She said: “The first time in London, I was so young. Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and she said, ‘You’re gonna meet a prince today.’ I didn’t know at that point that I was going to be trafficked to that prince.”
She added of Prince Andrew: “He denies that it ever happened. And he’s going to keep denying that it ever happened. But he knows the truth. And I know the truth.”
The prince has previously strongly denied any inappropriate behaviour or of being aware of any such behaviour from Epstein, in rare statements issued from Buckingham Palace. The palace pointed to those previous denials when asked about the Giuffre claims on Friday.
The prince said in a statement last month 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 behaviour 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 sympathise 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.”
Giuffre went on to say in the TV interview on Friday, after recounting that she been woken up in London by Maxwell: “That night Prince Andrew came to her house in London. And we went out to club Tramp. Prince Andrew got me alcohol. It was in the VIP section. I’m pretty sure it was vodka.
“Prince Andrew was like, ‘Let’s dance together.’ And I was like, ‘OK.’ And we leave club Tramp. And I hop in the car with Ghislaine and Jeffrey, and Ghislaine said, ‘He’s coming back to the house. And I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
Last month, lawyers for some of Epstein’s victims said Prince Andrew should give sworn testimony on “everything he knows” about Epstein, after the prince said he was appalled by Epstein’s sex crimes.
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges in Florida: one count of solicitation of prostitution and one count of solicitation of prostitution with a minor under the age of 18. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail, followed by a year of community control or house arrest.