2009 settlement between Epstein and accuser made public after judges order its release

The 2009 settlement reached between the late Jeffrey Epstein and one of the women accusing him of sexual abuse became public Monday after two federal judges ordered its release last week.

The document’s release is the latest development in Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuits against Prince Andrew, a member of the British royal family, and former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

Giuffre, who was previously known as Virginia Roberts, has said Epstein, a convicted sex offender who authorities say committed suicide in jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in 2019, arranged for Prince Andrew and Dershowitz to sexually assault her when she was a minor. Both men claim they are innocent.

As Law and Crime reported, Prince Andrew pushed for the 2009 agreement to be released. He argued that its language shields him and other associates of Epstein from civil liability in relation to Giuffre’s allegations.

“Because Prince Andrew is a senior member of the British royal family, he falls into one of the expressly identified categories of persons, i.e., royalty, released from liability under the Release Agreement, along with politicians, academicians, businessmen, and others allegedly associated with Epstein,” Prince Andrew’s attorney wrote in an October court filing.

“Indeed, that same agreement was the basis for Giuffre agreeing to dismiss her previously released battery claim against Professor Dershowitz earlier this year,” added the attorney, Andrew B. Brettler. “Professor Dershowitz, as a third-party beneficiary of the 2009 settlement agreement, was entitled to rely upon and enforce the terms of that secret deal.”

Last month, U.S. District Court Judges Loretta Preska and Lewis Kaplan, who are presiding over Dershowitz and Prince Andrew’s cases, respectively, suggested there was no point in keeping the agreement secret.

“Mr Epstein, as is well known, is deceased. The document is well known to Ms Giuffre and, although under seal, has been available to all parties in these cases for some time,” the judges said, according to The Guardian. “We question whether any proper purpose would be served by the continued secrecy of the document save, perhaps, the dollar amount of the settlement it provided for.”

And on Wednesday, both judges officially ordered the document to be made public.

So what’s in the 2009 settlement? As NPR reported, the document contains an agreement that Giuffre would drop her lawsuit against Epstein in exchange for $500,000 “and other valuable consideration.”

Specifically, Giuffre agreed to “remise, release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge the said second parties and any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant … from all, and all manner of, action and actions of Virginia Roberts, including state or federal, cause and causes of action.”

The agreement says that it “is a final resolution of a disputed claim and is intended to avoid litigation” and that its terms apply “from the beginning of the world to the day of this release.”

However, it remains to be seen whether the courts will rule that the settlement’s language protects Prince Andrew and Dershowitz from Giuffre’s civil claims.