The news that Prince Andrew has settled his highly publicized and damaging sexual abuse case involving Virginia Giuffre is good news for his mother, Queen Elizabeth, as well as a number of lawyers who will share the estimated £10 million or so in settlement monies.
Although the actual settlement is private, informed sources indicate the payout will be in the £10 – £12 million area, which makes a useful payday for the lawyers involved in Prince Andrew’s settlement.
But it is less than helpful to a prince whose net value may be only around £5 million.
In the settlement statement, the prince said he regretted his association with Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in prison in 2019 while facing trial for sex crimes.
The Times reported Mitchell Epner, a former federal prosecutor based in New York, that the settlement was a major victory for Giuffre and comes as the Queen celebrates her platinum jubilee. “This statement does not include the typical language in an American settlement, that the defendant neither admits or denies the allegations,” he said.
The statement did not indicate that Andrew, 61, would publicly accept Giuffre’s claims that she had been forced to have sex with him when she was 17.
Under the contingency legal fee rules in New York state, where the action was commenced, lawyers can take up to one-third of the damages won by way of their legal fees.
lawyers are generally allowed up to 33.3 per cent of damages won by their clients as legal fees. It is estimated that Andrew’s legal fees so far have totaled between £500,000 to £1 million.
David Boies Winning Way
Law Star David Boies had aggressively represented Giuffre and told the Court that they expect to file papers formalizing the settlement within 30 days. He asked the court to put the litigation on hold until then.
Boies came to the case with a massive legal reputation, which includes his talent for relentless cross examination, including when he destroyed Bill Gates in the witness box in the 1990s. His lengthy legal careers has included representation of those barracking for same-sex marriage rights, Vice-President Al Gore and less illustriously his representation of sex offender Harvey Weinstein.
During Boies defense of CBS in a defamation case in 1986, reporters apparently hummed the Jaws theme whenever he got up to cross examine a witness.
Charging about $2,000 (£1,470) per hour, Boies is one of the highest paid lawyers in America and also one of its most celebrated. Prince Andrew’s settlement will see him take his share of proceeds from the settlement amount paid.
The Royal Team
Gary Bloxsome is the lawyer representing Prince Andrew in the UK. A partner at Blackfords, he was retained in early 2020 and has been the so-called ‘mastermind’ of the prince’s legal defense in responses to allegations made by Virginia Roberts as to trafficking by Epstein.
Prince Andrew’s highest profile defender has been extradition Silk Clare Montgomery who became most prominent when she fought to save Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from extradition after he was accused of multiple allegations of human rights abuses.
Andrew Brettler is the US lawyer who has assisted the legal team at the US end of Prince Andrews actions is one of Hollywood’s ‘Power Lawyers’, so named by the Hollywood Reporter, who has represented a number of high profile celebrities and others in various legal actions.
As with the other lawyers, Brettler does not come cheaply, charging a reported $2000 an hour.
The Hollywood Legal set have also featured in the wider skirmishes involving Prince Andrew, drawing commentaries and observations about the Prince’s downfall and large settlement.
Attorney Lisa Bloom, (right) who is the lawyer for several of Epstein’s victims, said in a tweet that Giuffre had achieved “what no one else could: getting Prince Andrew to stop his nonsense and side with sexual abuse victims”.
“Folks need to understand how extraordinarily difficult and painful it is to litigate a sexual abuse case, and Virginia has shown more courage in one day than most of us show in an entire lifetime, by not only going after Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, but now Prince Andrew, and standing up to him,” Bloom said in an interview with Talk Radio.
Prince Andrew’s settlement, whatever it might be, will be costly for both him and his reputation, but the legal teams on either side of the ‘deal’ will be collecting fees that the Prince will be hard-pressed to settle. But no harder than the settlement itself.