2022 looks like it could be Prince Andrew’s worst year yet, but the prince is “optimistic” that he will emerge the winner in the Virginia Roberts Giuffre legal case, sources have told The Daily Beast, and his lawyers will continue to pursue their attacks on Giuffre’s character, saying that her “credibility”—not his, as many people think—is front and center in the case.
“It is stressful for anyone to be facing litigation,” says a source who knows the prince. “But Andrew has been in the public eye for a long time and you need a thick skin for that. He is handling the pressure well. He has smart lawyers. He is optimistic.”
How Andrew’s year pans out will hinge on a Jan. 4 court date in which his legal team, led by Andrew Brettler, will seek to get Giuffre’s case against him dismissed in its entirety in a New York court.
Assuming he fails in that endeavor, then, says David Boies, attorney for Giuffre, the case will enter “full discovery mode”, the most high-profile and anxiety-inducing part of which will be the taking of a videotaped deposition from Andrew.
“If his motion to dismiss is denied, Andrew will be forced to give evidence under oath, he has no way of escaping that,” Boies told The Daily Beast, “The only question is where does that deposition take place? Does it take place in the United States or someplace in Europe? It could take place at our office in London, it could take place in the United States embassy.”
As The Daily Beast previously exclusively reported, Boies is also considering taking depositions from Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, who still lives with him at Royal Lodge and is his most prominent public defender. Another target for a deposition may be Meghan Markle, who Boies believes may have picked up knowledge about Andrew’s activities and can be “counted on to tell the truth.”
After the taking of depositions, the discovery process would move on to seeing Andrew forced to produce documents and answer written questions.
Only after that was complete would the process move on to a full trial, which, Boies cautiously predicted, will likely take place this year, saying: “The judge that we have, Judge Kaplan, is known for moving his cases relatively quickly. He typically takes a case to trial, even a complicated case, within a year of its filing, so that means we would finish discovery in the summer and, in ordinary circumstances, plan to have a trial in the fall.
“With COVID, the exact timing of that trial becomes more uncertain, but my judgement is that it would still be in 2022. Therefore it is likely that from 1 Jan to 31 December next year, Prince Andrew will go through the entire gamut of US legislation from a motion to dismiss, to discovery, to trial, to verdict.”
Asked if Andrew was likely to give evidence in any trial, Boies said: “He is clearly going to be required to give evidence at the time of deposition. But whether he is required to come to the United States to participate in the trial is something that is up to the judge. Ordinarily a defendant would want to be there because if a defendant is not present it makes the jury believe that he doesn’t have respect for the process, and he doesn’t get to tell his story in person.
“Unlike a criminal trial, where you can’t comment on a defendant not appearing, in a civil trial you can make a big deal of the defendant not appearing.”
A spokesperson for Prince Andrew declined to comment on whether or not Andrew would or would not attend the court. However, friends of the prince told The Daily Beast that it was “highly unlikely” he would voluntarily attend any court hearing.
This may be in part in an attempt to distance himself from the aggressive legal strategy which Andrew is pursuing under the guiding hand of Brettler, which in a significant part consists of undermining Giuffre.
For instance, Brettler’s legal briefs have aggressively gone after Giuffre’s previous behavior, accusing her of recruiting other young women to work for Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
In one legal document entitled “Giuffre’s role in Epstein’s criminal enterprise,” Prince Andrew’s lawyers said: “It is a striking feature of this case that while lurid allegations are made against Prince Andrew by Giuffre, the only party to this claim whose conduct has involved the willful recruitment and trafficking of young girls for sexual abuse is Giuffre herself, including while she was an adult.”
Andrew’s legal team have been criticized for their attempts to undermine Giuffre’s character—indeed on Dec. 16 the judge threw out an attempt by them to include for “judicial notice” a 2015 New York Daily News article featuring the headline: “Jeffrey Epstein accuser was not a sex slave, but a money-hungry sex kitten, her former friends say.”
But there is no sign that they will abandon the tactic. “Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s credibility is front and center in this case,” a source said.
It all adds up to a grim 2022 for Andrew, although there is one, very distant possibility of success for Andrew: January’s motion to dismiss.
If he wins that, a friend says, he will have a “pretty amazing year,” but it is an unlikely outcome, as even his close supporters admit.
Hence the most realistic resolution for Andrew’s new year might be: Buckle up.