Ac­cuser’s in­ter­view puts prince to shame


Manchester Evening News - - STATE SIDE -

VIR­GINIA GI­UF­FRE’S first UK tele­vi­sion in­ter­view, aired in an hour-long spe­cial on the BBC this week, could not have been more dif­fer­ent to Prince An­drew’s.

The Amer­i­can, who claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York by her pae­dophile boss Jef­frey Ep­stein, deco­rously called “BS” on the royal’s de­nials that they never even met.

In his ap­pear­ance on News­night three weeks ago, watched with in­ter­est by the FBI and lawyers in the US, Prince An­drew claimed his long­stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with the late pae­dophile and sex traf­ficker was an in­no­cent friend­ship.

He spoke of the times he en­joyed with Ep­stein at­tend­ing royal palaces to­gether while back in the States, in­dulging in his pal’s hos­pi­tal­ity at din­ner par­ties with in­tel­lec­tu­als and politi­cians.

The Duke was sorry for one thing, though. Not for his decades’ long re­la­tion­ship with Ep­stein, and not for ac­ci­den­tally over­look­ing a sex traf­fick­ing ring led by his bil­lion­aire pal. No, the Duke was sorry for act­ing in a way that was “un­be­com­ing” of the royal fam­ily.

Like an old-school bobby at the scene of the crime, Prince An­drew tried to tell the pub­lic there was noth­ing to see here.

But clearly, the royal had not bar­gained on the BBC speak­ing to his ac­cuser. And in do­ing so, Aun­tie, bit-by-bit, ap­peared to take his ver­sion of events apart.

The pro­gramme opened with a clip of Gi­uf­fre say­ing: “He knows what hap­pened. I know what hap­pened. There’s only one of us telling the truth. And I know that it’s me.”

There was noth­ing dra­matic about Panorama’s The Prince and the Ep­stein Scan­dal, nor were there any bomb­shell rev­e­la­tions. But from the out­set, the pro­gramme framed the story as an ex­plo­ration of “the prince’s friend­ship with a pro­lific sex of­fender”.

He knows what hap­pened. I know what hap­pened. There’s only one of us telling the truth. And I know that it’s me Vir­ginia Gi­uf­fre

Watch­ing Gi­uf­fre tear­fully re­call her claims of abuse, she man­aged to be ev­ery­thing Prince An­drew wasn’t. Filled with emo­tion, it was dif­fi­cult to feel any­thing but em­pa­thy for her.

The Prince, on the other hand, showed none – not to her or to Ep­stein’s count­less other vic­tims too.

While she ad­mit­ted to her fail­ings and that she could not re­call ex­act times and dates from 18 years ago, Prince An­drew said he re­mem­bered be­ing home the night she al­leges they had sex when she was aged 17 – claim­ing he had taken his daugh­ter to a Pizza Ex­press party in Wok­ing.

Above all, where the duke was eva­sive, she was di­rect. If his now fa­mous car-crash in­ter­view with the

BBC’s Emily Maitlis left many feel­ing he was de­void of a con­science, full of en­ti­tle­ment and self-im­por­tance, Panorama painted Gi­uf­fre as a vic­tim fully aware of the weight of her ac­cu­sa­tions.

Her time with Ep­stein left her with noth­ing. Her child­hood and her in­no­cence stolen. There is noth­ing more her abuser could have taken from her.

Gi­uf­fre’s in­ter­view did not break new ground in the al­le­ga­tions against the duke, which are con­tained in le­gal doc­u­ments.

But it put a very real face to the woman who has ac­cused a mem­ber of the royal fam­ily of hav­ing sex with her when she was a teen who had been traf­ficked.

The duke de­nies the al­le­ga­tions, say­ing he has no rec­ol­lec­tion of ever hav­ing met Gi­uf­fre.

Panorama re­vealed that five more women want Prince An­drew to tes­tify to what he saw when stay­ing with Ep­stein, and the prince told the BBC that he’d be happy to help law en­force­ment.

If only Scot­land Yard would take him up on that, it would be bet­ter for all those con­cerned.

Un­til then, the court of pub­lic opin­ion con­tin­ues to make an iron­clad case for An­drew’s ex­ile.

The Duke of York’s ac­cuser Vir­ginia Gi­uf­fre speak­ing on BBC’s Panorama

Prince An­drew and Jef­frey Ep­stein

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