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Prince Andrew’s chief accuser was a sex worker who lied about her age and was paid “half a million” by the disgraced US paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, new court papers allege.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 37, who claims to have had sex with the prince three times when she was 17, was a sex worker “for about a year” before she met Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of trafficking her and a number of other young women in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the papers claim.
The claims emerged in a transcript of a conversation between Sharon Churcher, the journalist who first revealed Roberts Giuffre to be one of Epstein’s victims in a 2011 newspaper interview, and Tony Lyons, a New York publisher.
Lyons’ Skyhorse Group has published books by Epstein’s former high-profile lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who Roberts Giuffre has claimed to have been sex trafficked to six times as a minor.
Dershowitz, 81, denies the claims and has submitted the transcript in defence of a defamation action lodged against him by Roberts Giuffre in April last year.
Roberts Giuffre has always insisted she was a victim and never a willing participant, accusing her critics of “recycling fantasies of their version of the truth for years”.
She claims the men who abused her have been using their wealth and influence to keep her quiet.
Allegations contained in newly filed legal documents claim Roberts Giuffre was 16, not 15, when she first met Maxwell in Florida.
She is also accused of changing her story about meeting Donald Trump at the last minute and of confusing one of the men she claimed to have been sex trafficked to with another Harvard professor.
It is also alleged that she may have doctored an email and was using legal action as a form of “blackmail”.
Churcher met Lyons at Skyhorse’s headquarters in New York City on October 2 last year to discuss a book about the “Me Too” movement she was working on.
During the course of their 80-minute conversation, recorded by Lyons, Churcher made a series of claims about Roberts Giuffre, whom she first revealed as victim “Jane Doe 3” in a story published on February 27, 2011.
The article was accompanied by a never-seen-before photo of Prince Andrew with his arm around a then 17-year-old Roberts Giuffre, taken by Epstein at Maxwell’s London flat in March 2001.
Churcher admits Roberts Giuffre “got paid” for the interview – in which she described how she was recruited by Maxwell to become Epstein’s masseuse when she was working at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club in Florida – saying: “It was chequebook journalism.”
In the original interview, Roberts Giuffre describes herself as “a paedophile’s dream”, having been abused as a child, and details how she spent the next four years being pressured to have underage sex with Epstein and “pimped out” to powerful men.
Although she did not at that stage accuse Prince Andrew of any wrongdoing, she claims to have met him three times – when the photograph was taken and they went out to Tramp nightclub; again at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in Easter 2001 “when Ghislaine placed me on his knee”; and a third time on Epstein’s Caribbean island, Little Saint James.
It was not until three years later, in a December 2014 Florida court filing, that she described being sex trafficked to the royal at least three times when she was 17 in 2001. Buckingham Palace stated at the time that “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue”.
According to the transcript, Churcher claims Roberts Giuffre “lied about her age”, telling Lyons that Epstein had “two sides to his operation” – abusing schoolgirls and “pimping out beautiful young women to very powerful men”.
Referring to Roberts Giuffre, she said: “She took a year off [her age]. Apparently she was 16, not 15, when she was recruited [by Epstein]. But she’d been on the game for about a year then. Epstein’s women were – he basically had prostitutes.”
Churcher goes on to claim that Roberts Giuffre is “suing everybody”, including Dershowitz, adding: “The idea is that he will then pay her off. This really is blackmail.”
When Lyons replies that Dershowitz “isn’t going to do that” because he doesn’t want his “legacy tarnished”, Churcher responds: “She’ll just move on to other people if she gets away with that one too. She’s a big spender. She’s spent so much money. Because you see, Epstein paid her off. She had settled with Epstein. She’d taken half a million, I think it was.”
Churcher then refers to an email Roberts Giuffre sent her on May 5, 2011, also submitted in evidence, asking her to clarify the names of the men she claimed “JE had sent me to” during the interview to help her with a book pitch.
The transcript of the email suggests Churcher responded six days later, on May 11, 2011, saying: “Don’t forget Alan Dershowitz. JEs buddy and lawyer … We all suspect Alan is a pedo …”
Churcher tells Lyons she would never use the word “pedo”, adding: “I wonder about some of these emails, too, that she’s produced. Because of course you can change emails.”
Describing Dershowitz as “a victim”, Churcher suggests Roberts Giuffre may have “confused him with this other Harvard professor” who was also friends with Epstein.
Churcher also alleges that Roberts Giuffre “changed her story about Trump, too”. In a second Mail on Sunday story, dated March 6, 2011, Churcher quotes Roberts Giuffre as saying: “Donald Trump was also a good friend of Jeffrey’s. He didn’t partake in sex with any of us but he flirted with me. He’d laugh and tell Jeffrey: ‘You’ve got the life.'”
Churcher tells Lyons: “I’ve written what she told me about Trump. She’s now saying she never said it.”
The transcript, emails and a sworn affidavit by Lyons were filed in evidence at the District Court, New York, on November 20.
A spokesperson for Roberts Giuffre has previously rubbished Dershowitz’s claims, saying: “We have been to this rodeo before with Alan Dershowitz. He has been recycling the same fantasies of his version of the truth for years.”
Dershowitz’s lawyer declined to comment. Representatives for Churcher did not respond to a request for comment.
Chuck Cooper, representing Roberts Giuffre, said: “We are looking forward to taking MsChurcher’s deposition under oath.”
Roberts Giuffre founded non-profit organisation Victims Refuse Silence in 2015 to help fellow survivors of sex trafficking.
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