Virginia Giuffre’s absence from Ghislaine Maxwell trial shows she is ‘not a credible witness’, says Duke’s team

Prince Andrew’s accuser is not giving evidence at Ghislaine Maxwell’s upcoming sex trafficking trial because she is a “less than credible witness” who has changed her story over the years, the Duke’s team has claimed.

The Telegraph revealed on Monday that Ms Giuffre, who has said she was groomed and sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein and Ms Maxwell but is not one of the alleged victims included in the charges against the British socialite, will not be testifying on behalf of the US government as had been speculated.

The decision will spare Prince Andrew, who is fighting his own civil case brought by Ms Giuffre, the uncomfortable scrutiny he had feared at the highly anticipated trial next week.

“As the most high-profile, and vocal accusers against Maxwell, Epstein and individuals like the Duke, one might have expected Mrs Giuffre to be the star witness,” sources close to the Duke’s camp said.

“However, the fact that she is not to be called, can only lead one to conclude that her increasingly inconsistent accounts make her a less than credible witness,” they told The Telegraph.

Since going public with her accusations, Ms Giuffre has launched several lawsuits against those she alleges to have been involved in a conspiracy, including Ms Maxwell, the Prince of York, and former Donald Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

Bypassing Ms Giuffre’s allegations about the Duke will keep the most explosive allegations against Ms Maxwell, 59, out of the trial, but it will also allow prosecutors to avoid a big risk.

Virginia Giuffre claims she was groomed and sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell

Credit: Mark Kauzlarich
/Bloomberg

Records, witnesses and photos back up many parts of Ms Giuffre’s account of her time with Epstein, but the now-38-year-old has acknowledged getting key details wrong in her story over the years, including initially falsely saying in a lawsuit that she had been 15 when Epstein began to abuse her.

In a 2019 interview with Dateline NBC, she said inconsistencies in her story were the innocent mistakes of trying to recall events that happened years ago, when she was a traumatised teenager.

She settled a civil defamation case against Ms Maxwell for an undisclosed sum in 2017. Before settling, Ms Maxwell took two depositions, which formed the basis of perjury charges against her which will be tried separately.

In the final pretrial hearing on Tuesday, Ms Maxwell’s team accused the government of altering their case “at the 11th hour”, by seeking a change in wording to the jury when discussing two of Ms Maxwell’s counts.

Two of the four alleged victims claim to have been sexually abused by Epstein in New Mexico when they were 17, which is over the age of consent in the western US state but under the age in New York, where the case is being heard.

“This is an 11th hour issue (…) and is not how the government charged it,” Christian Everdell, an attorney for the heiress, told the court in Manhattan. “What is accused is not illegal conduct under New Mexico law.”

The charge relates to "accuser three", who is understood to be British and met Epstin and Ms Maxwell in London in 1994. Judge Alison Nathan said the jury should be instructed not to convict on the evidence of accuser three alone.

The defense claims there is a danger that jurors may convict Ms Maxwell based on a “moral judgement of sexual activity which was entirely legal.”

The judge also ruled to allow the government to introduce a "black book" of contacts they believe belongs to Ms Maxwell, not in fact to Epstein – as they previously believed.

The 97-page directory was taken from Epstein’s villa in Palm Beach, Florida and contains the names of some of the world’s most powerful people.

Judge Nathan also ruled on Tuesday that the administrators of Epstein’s victims’ compensation fund must provide records of claims made by women who accuse Ms Maxwell of playing a role in their having been sexually abused.

Ms Maxwell, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, appeared relaxed in federal court in New York yesterday, hugging her lawyers and jotting down notes. The trial is due to start on Monday.

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