Droit de seigneur

Money and power and status and malehood combined: one of the male royals may be unable to keep denying his part in Jeffrey Epstein’s hobby.

Prince Andrew faces further embarrassment from the Jeffrey Epstein scandal after a judge ordered thousands of secret documents relating to an alleged “sex slave” of the tycoon to be released.

About 2,000 files from a defamation case involving Virginia Roberts, an alleged trafficking victim, are due to be unsealed following a ruling by the US court of appeal this month. Roberts claims she was forced by Epstein to have sex with the Duke of York in London, New York and the Caribbean. Prince Andrew has strongly denied the claims.

Well he would, wouldn’t he.

In 2015 Roberts, now 35 and a mother of three, claimed she had been recruited as a “sex slave” by Epstein, a billionaire financier who was charged last week with trafficking girls as young as 14. Roberts alleged that she had been “procured for sexual activities” by Ghislaine Maxwell, who worked as a personal aide to Epstein and had been a friend of the duke.

Maxwell then called Roberts a liar in an interview, and Roberts sued her for defamation. The case was settled, but we’re not told what that means. Most of the court documents were sealed.

In a ruling this month, Jose Cabranes, a US appeals judge, said the public’s right to know outweighed the privacy rights of people who wanted to keep secrets. Days later Epstein, 66, was charged in New York with trafficking a “vast network of underage victims” between his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida. Epstein denies the charges.

So, who knows, maybe the documents show that Andrew never did shtup underage Roberts. Or maybe they don’t.

Andrew is not the only illustrious acquaintance to be embarrassed. Trump described Epstein as a friend in 2002, adding: “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Bill and Hillary Clinton are also known to have been associates.

However, none of the investment banker’s friendships has raised more eyebrows than his relationship with Andrew. Epstein attended the Queen’s birthday party in 2000 and visited Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor Castle.

The Times gives details on how their movements track during the relevant time slots. Maybe Andrew just kept being in the same place as Roberts for no particular reason, or maybe not.

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