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How a picture came to symbolize the Prince Andrew sexual abuse case

Prince Andrew

Virginia Giuffre’s case against Prince Andrew was based on a simple photograph that she took late on 10 March 2001.

A photograph of Ghislaine Maxwell, 17, with the duke’s arm around her waist, and Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced late financier and sex trafficker hidden in the flash’s reflection in the window.

Andrew’s claim about that picture – which he said was doctored since he had no recollection of that time or meeting Giuffre at Tramp nightclub in London – is both a prequel and postscript to the storyline.

It has been reproduced in countless newspaper articles about the scandal.

The picture’s symbolism was not lost on Wendy Murphy, a former sex crimes prosecutor.

She said: “If this were not a member of the royal family with a person from a very different social class, the picture would tell you nothing, because it’s not a picture of sexual assault. In an ordinary case, the defense would just say it only proves they were at a party together.”

The problem, Murphy said, is that Maxwell is in the background and it is a picture that “has no innocent explanation, because there is no innocent reason for him to be hugging her, even in a social situation”.

The settlement, which the duke’s lawyers said includes a “substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights”, marks the end of Giuffre’s long journey from life as a south Florida teenager drawn into the Epstein-Maxwell sex trafficking conspiracy to prominent campaigner against the sexual abuse of minors.

Giuffre, then Virginia Roberts, spent four years as Epstein’s personal masseuse, during which she alleges she was trafficked to the financier’s friends and clients. She now lives in Australia.

In a 2009 civil lawsuit against Epstein, under the pseudonym “Jane Doe 102”, she alleged that her duties included being “sexually exploited by Epstein’s adult male peers, including royalty”. Giuffre reached a $500,000 settlement with Epstein in that case before it went to trial.

She also sued and settled for an undisclosed sum with Maxwell in a 2015 defamation suit. Giuffre filed the current civil lawsuit against the duke for sexual abuse, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress just five days short of the closing of a window in statute of limitations in New York’s Child’s Sex Act.

The original image showing Giuffre, the duke and Maxwell together at Maxwell’s home, before, her lawyers claim, she was sexually abused by the duke, is reportedly lost.

Ahead of the settlement, the duke’s lawyers asked Giuffre to hand over the original, anticipating arguing that it was fake. But according to the Daily Beast, nobody on Giuffre’s legal team knows where it is, or has ever seen the original photograph.

The picture, taken on Giuffre’s own camera, had allegedly been packed into a box and shipped from Colorado to Sydney sometime between between 2011 and 2016, when Giuffre emigrated to Australia.

Written by GhLinks Media

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