Prince Andrew settles sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre

Britain's Prince Andrew has settled a lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre accusing the Duke of York of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager and also being abused by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, a US federal court filing showed on Tuesday (local time).

The settlement, including an undisclosed payment, was revealed in the joint filing in Manhattan federal court, where Giuffre had sued Queen Elizabeth's second son last August.

It spares Andrew from a potentially embarrassing series of disclosures and accusations in the months leading up to and during a trial, which was slated to begin late this year.

Andrew, 61, has denied Giuffre's accusations that he forced her to have sex more than two decades ago at a London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and abused her at two Epstein properties. Giuffre, 38, has been one of Epstein's and Maxwell's most prominent accusers.

Lawyers for Giuffre and Andrew said the prince intends to make a substantial donation to Giuffre's charity in support of victims' rights.

The prince "never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre's character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks," the filing said.

"Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others," the filing added.

"He pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims."

The statement is a marked departure from an interview that Andrew gave the BBC in 2019 in which he failed to appear sympathetic toward Epstein's abuse victims, and refused to apologize for his friendship with Epstein.

The Royal Family last month removed Prince Andrew's military links and royal patronages and said he will no longer be known as "His Royal Highness."

Andrew was defending against GIuffre's lawsuit as a private citizen.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the prince declined to comment beyond the court filing.

Epstein killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Last month, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected Andrew's bid to dismiss Giuffre's lawsuit, which accused him of battering Giuffre and intentionally causing her emotional distress.

He also said it was premature to decide whether Giuffre's 2009 civil settlement with Epstein also shielded Andrew.