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Prince Andrew asked to give up titles as trial continues

Following the recent trial and conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell, a New York City judge has allowed the sexual assault case against Prince Andrew to go ahead on Wednesday. This leads many to wonder if this is finally Andrew’s time to face justice.

The civil suit deposed by Virginia Giuffre, who has accused Prince Andrew of sexual abuse, claims that she was trafficked by late convicted sex predator and financier Jeffrey Epstein to then be assaulted by the royal.

At the time of the events, she was 17 years old. In a methodical grooming and trafficking system, now described by many survivors, vulnerable girls as young as 14 were brought by Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein to people in close elite circles to be sexually assaulted.

Prince Andrew, criticized for keeping close ties with Epstein, was named as one of the men who took part in Epstein’s trafficking ring.

Although the process of slowly distancing Andrew from the Royal family started in November of 2019 after his infamous interview with the BBC, the recent conviction of Epstein’s main co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, brought significant attention to the case against Andrew in New York.

In Maxwell’s trial, many details about the system of abuse came into light, notably the tactics they used for grooming and trafficking minors, making clear to the world what were the inner workings of this massive and systematic abuse of minors.

When confronted with the facts of the Maxwell case, it seems almost impossible that anyone close to her or Epstein would not be aware of the precise criminal operation.

It was unclear if the trial would be able to go forward until recently. The Prince of Wales’ legal team made an appeal claiming the defendant was included in a 2009 confidential settlement between Epstein and Giuffre.

In its terms, the settlement released Epstein and other “potential defendants” from any further legal action. The Prince’s lawyers argued this included him, but on Wednesday, presiding Judge Kaplan rejected this idea, allowing the trial to continue its course.

Last Thursday’s letter from Buckingham Palace was the last step that cemented Andrew’s fall from grace.

In less than 50 words, the Queen stripped the Prince of Wales of his military roles and royal patronages. The letter also stated he would defend himself in trial as a private citizen and has been asked to stop using “HRM”.

The Royal family’s decision to distance themselves from the Prince of Wales just as this long-awaited trial becomes a certainty is a clear indication of their stance on the scandal: they want nothing to do with it.

Although the official distancing shows the Royal family will not defend the alleged abuser, some have asked: if the trial had indeed been thrown out on a technicality, would the family have stayed by his side?

Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, has confirmed she is unlikely to accept a purely financial settlement, which leads commentators to expect that she would ask for some sort of public statement from the Prince at the very least.

In a statement on Wednesday, Boies affirmed that “what is going to be important is that this resolution vindicates her and vindicates the claims she’s made.”

Virginia Giuffre has been leading the movement against Epstein and his circle of co-conspirators, while also heading the non-profit support group Speak Out, Act, Reclaim (SOAR).

The trial of Andrew being allowed to move forward is a positive sign for Epstein’s survivors, but the continued presence in the media of figures like Alan Dershowitz prove there is still much to be done to obtain justice.

On the day of Maxwell’s conviction, Giuffre tweeted: “I hope that today is not the end but rather another step-in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be.”

 

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