There are several analysis pieces on Prince Andrew’s loss in court yesterday. Andrew’s lawyers were trying to get Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit dismissed, and his lawyers had some legitimately crazy arguments for why Virginia couldn’t sue him. They argued that Virginia, an American citizen, doesn’t live in America (she owns a home in Colorado and she votes in American elections). They argued that Andrew was protected by the settlement deal Jeffrey Epstein worked out with Virginia. Judge Kaplan threw that out convincingly. Andrew’s lawyers also complained that Giuffre’s lawsuit was “vague, unintelligible and ambiguous.” Judge Kaplan threw that out too, saying that Virginia’s lawsuit was none of those things.
So what happens now? Andrew has three options. One, see the trial through to the bitter end and fight every claim. Two, settle out of court with Giuffre and hope to pull together enough money to get Virginia to sign some kind of NDA. Three, stop participating in the lawsuit, sit in jolly olde England, watch TV at Royal Lodge and pretend that none of it is happening as the court awards a default judgment in Virginia’s favor. In that scenario, Andrew would be ripped to shreds in the press, of course and he would look like a total coward and rapist. But is that THE option? From The Royalist’s column:
But at the forefront of Andrew’s advisers’ minds will be the knowledge that default judgements issued by US civil courts against non-residents without assets in the US are notoriously hard to collect, even when the person in question is not a lineal heir to the British throne. Andrew’s unique diplomatic position would only make that task even harder (although even regular citizens cannot be extradited for failure to pay a default judgement in any case.)
Sources in Giuffre’s camp are, perhaps understandably, keen to talk down this option. One said: “I just don’t think he will do that. The consequences would be just too severe. Can you imagine a situation where the king’s brother is a debt fugitive? He would never be able to own anything again for the rest of his life. If there is a trial, and he loses, and whatever amount the judge awards–maybe it gets paid and maybe it doesn’t—at least it is over with, it is behind them. If he defaults it goes on forever.”
But Royal biographer Penny Junor told The Daily Beast that given that Andrew cannot be extradited for a civil claim, it is hard to see how things can get any worse if he simply retires from public view.
“All the damage was done a long time ago, when he gave that interview to Emily Maitlis, but the damage is to Andrew. The damage to the institution is pretty minimal, because Andrew is not that significant a member of it,” Junor said, “It’s a shocking state of affairs, but in the grand scheme of things I don’t think it’s life threatening for the monarchy.”
[From The Daily Beast]
The way the royal reporters (like Penny Junor here) are falling all over themselves to now claim that Andrew has been persona non grata ever since the Newsnight interview is really something. Andrew walked just behind the Prince of Wales at their father’s funeral. Andrew spent Christmas with the Queen. Andrew spent most of last summer at Balmoral with the Queen, having private lunches at her favorite cabin, and bringing Fergie around constantly. Buckingham Palace has also fought hard and exerted a TON of pressure on charities and military branches to keep Andrew “on” as their royal patron of record. While Andrew doesn’t DO public events, he still holds public positions and he’s still very much in the royal fold, and he has his mother’s ear. He also still has his ducal title, his HRH style and his lease on Royal Lodge! This absolutely is a huge threat to the monarchy.
And, incidentally, while Andrew’s pockets aren’t that deep these days, let’s all be real: mummy dearest is footing his legal bills and she’ll be paying the settlement to Virginia too. All of this new PR about Andrew not being in the royal fold is a negotiation tactic. They’re trying to low-ball Virginia and keep her from asking for a ten-figure settlement.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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