Who said that there is no honor among thieves?

As part of the legal proceeding involving Virginia Giuffre’s charge that Prince Andrew was one of Jeffrey Epstein’s friends that she was pressured to have sex with as a minor, a federal judge yesterday released the sealed agreement that was reached about a decade ago between Epstein and Giuffre in settlement of her case against him.

The unsealed settlement states that upon receipt of the stipulated sum, Giuffre, referred to under her maiden name, agrees to “remise, release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge the said second parties and any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant … from all, and all manner of, action and actions of Virginia Roberts, including state or federal, cause and causes of action”.

It looks like Epstein was taking care of his friends to insulate them from legal actions by those they abused. Of course, I doubt that he did this purely out of a sense of friendship. More likely it was to prevent them from buckling under the threat of prosecution and revealing damaging information about him.

It is interesting that Andrew and Alan Dershowitz, neither of whom is specifically named, wanted this agreement to be released since they seem to feel that it will take the heat off them.

Andrew filed Giuffre’s settlement with Epstein as part of his attempt to dismiss her case, arguing that it shields him. Lawyers for the prince contend the settlement contains provisions that bar Giuffre from taking legal action against many of Epstein’s associates.

Andrew is not mentioned in the released settlement. Nor is the lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who Giuffre has accused of sexual misconduct facilitated by Epstein, which he has repeatedly denied.

In a court filing on 29 October, Andrew’s attorneys said: “Giuffre settled her sex-trafficking and sexual-abuse claims against Epstein in 2009. In doing so, she provided Epstein with a general release of all claims against him and numerous other individuals and entities.

“To avoid being dragged into future legal disputes, Epstein negotiated for this broad release, insisting that it cover any and all persons who Giuffre identified as potential targets of future lawsuits, regardless of the merit – or lack thereof – to any such claims.”

The attorneys also said: “Because Prince Andrew is a senior member of the British royal family, he falls into one of the expressly identified categories of persons, ie, royalty, released from liability under the release agreement, along with politicians, academicians, businessmen, and others allegedly associated with Epstein.

It is not exactly a ringing assertion of innocence. Basically, they are saying that this is a get-out-of-jail-free card that can be used to prevent any legal action “regardless of merit” against them by Giuffre.

All these powerful people are trying to close ranks against powerless young women who were sexually abused by the pedophile Epstein and his enabler Ghislaine Maxwell.


  1. cartomancer says

    Is it actually legal to produce an agreement like this? Sounds very dodgy to me. I wouldn’t think anyone had the capacity to sign away legal standing to prosecute or sue for other people’s crimes.

  2. John Morales says

    I’m reminded of Bill Cosby’s release:

    On June 30, 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s convictions. The decision stated that, prior to testifying in the Constand case, Cosby had been reliant on an unwritten promise that district attorney Bruce Castor had made to not prosecute him.

  3. Mano Singham says

    cartomancer @#1,

    As I read it, Giuffre seems to have signed away her own rights to pursue civil actions against anyone who falls into the classifications listed. I suspect that that may be legal since she is only binding herself, unless she can show that there was some level of coercion involved.

    But I don’t think it will shield Andrew, Dershowitz and others against criminal charges brought by the state or by civil suits brought by other victims.

    Intransitive @#2,

    I am not sure if this agreement constitutes an NDA, since it is part of a court-approved settlement.

  4. lanir says

    So… Why did the very first detail the article mentioned about the suit have to do with how much money she got? Is that really the most important or relevant thing about it that would apply to current events? Of course it isn’t. It’s just a sneaky way to influence how you read the story.

    If they really wanted to include that it could have been listed in the last few paragraphs where they summarize details to make sure you have the whole picture, such as the verdict in the case against Ghislaine Maxwell. Instead, they want you to filter the whole story through a lens of greed. The extremely ugly implied question is whether she’s been paid quite enough already for being abused. It starts you out on a footing of judging her rather than the people she’s accusing or the evidence she’s presenting for her claims.

    Nothing presented in the article justifies promoting this viewpoint.

    As far as the Prince and his legal defense goes it looks like he chose to look like he’s almost certainly a pedophile to anyone with sense rather than support his frankly bizarre claims of innocence, spending time with his family (of course *eyeroll*), and non-sweatiness. I guess he thinks there are enough people lacking sense about to justify that approach.

  5. sonofrojblake says

    ” I don’t think it will shield Andrew, Dershowitz and others against criminal charges”

    The day Andy faces criminal charges for anything, anywhere, I’ll show my arse on Oxford Street

    He clearly doesn’t care how it looks any more. Avoiding civil liability is all that matters.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    @lanir, 5;

    Why did the very first detail the article mentioned about the suit have to do with how much money she got? Is that really the most important or relevant thing about it that would apply to current events?

    Actually there is a reasonable answer to that, which is -- the dollar amount she got is about the only detail of the “secret” agreement that wasn’t already common knowledge. It’s literally the only bit that’s “news”, tacky as that may seem.

  7. says


    The provision in question isn’t an NDA.

    If you slip and fall on ice at the doorstep of a hospital, you actually have a decent case for a negligence tort against the hospital. If you’re bumped into by the chief of surgery on his way out to lunch and then slip and fall on the ice, you have a decent case against the CoS.

    BUT… you can only get paid for your injury once (generally). So most people will sue naming all potential defendants (after all, after you go through discovery looking for evidence you might have a better case against one defendant than another).

    HOWEVER, the defendants can agree between themselves that only one of them will pay -- in this case, it’s actually fairly likely that a hospital would cover the case costs for one of their employees, so long as its an employee in good standing and the case is for negligence, not, say, assault or other truly bad action.

    Now… that agreement isn’t binding on the plaintiff, but if the plaintiff decides to settle and accepts the wording suggested by the hospital indemnifying the CoS, then the plaintiff can’t later sue the CoS and claim that they only settled with the hospital. The informal (or formal) agreement between defendants isn’t binding on the plaintiff, but the signed settlement agreement is.

    THAT SAID… no contract, not even a settlement agreement, can successfully enforce a contract provision that is manifestly contrary to the public interest. People have a very wide range of latitude to negotiate their own contracts free of government interference, but they don’t have infinite freedom. The court will simply not enforce some contract provisions.

    Now is it manifestly against the public interest to protect Andrew from the consequences of his (alleged) wrongdoing? I honestly don’t know. This is a case at US law, not Canadian, and even in Canada I wouldn’t know (though at least in Canada I would know where to start looking).

    This provision might very well be enforceable against Giuffre in this case, but it’s also possible that it may not be. Whether the provision is unconscionable might even be a multi-faceted question. For instance, the substance of the provision might be within the scope of the public interest, but I heard that there was some squirrelly shit with lawyers in business with the lawyers representing Epstein taking up representation of his victims without telling them that they were in cahoots with Epstein’s lawyers. Now I think I remember this more or less correctly, but the details are fuzzy. Imagine for a moment that I do have this correct. The court could rule that the contract is unenforceable if Giuffre’s lawyer had divided loyalties that he did not disclose to Giuffre, as that double-dealing is contrary to the public interest even if the substantive provision within the contract is within the public interest (which we stipulated just for this hypothetical, I’m not saying it is).

    So the provision could be
    Substantively manifestly outside the scope of the public interest,
    Procedurally manifestly outside the scope of the public interest.

    In either case, such a provision would be unenforceable, and each possibility would require a different line of inquiry & argument. As I said before, I have no idea whether Giuffre would prevail, but I think it’s obvious from what I’ve read that her lawyers knew about the provision and thought it was worth trying. Given that, and given that they’re licensed to practice in the USA, I’ll just assume that they know far better than I do and that there is actually a reasonable chance that Giuffre’s suit against Andrew can go forward. I’m wishing her luck, but you’ll have to ask someone else for the odds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *