Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to two state felonies related to prostitution
Four women say they were victims in sex abuse ring; claim the plea violates their rights
1 says Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew; the palace refutes that claim
A woman claims in a federal court filing this week that she was forced to have sex with several men – including Britain’s Prince Andrew – while a teenager, an allegation the Duke of York’s camp firmly denies.
A royal family spokesman in London labeled the accusation against Prince Andrew “categorically untrue.”
The woman made the allegation in a civil motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in southern Florida, joined by another unnamed woman.
Both are seeking to join two other women who are arguing in federal court for the U.S. government to take a fresh look at its case involving self-made billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who pleaded guilty some years ago in Florida to a state charge of prostitution solicitation.
The investment banker agreed to a state plea deal in 2007 and began serving an 18-month sentence in 2008, said The New York Times.
According to The Times and the Washington Post, Epstein was the subject of a federal investigation but a deal allowed him to plead guilty to the lesser state charge and avoid a potential federal case.
The four women allege their rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act were violated because the U.S. “government secretly negotiated a non-prosecution agreement” with Epstein. According to the new court filing, the women contend they were not properly informed by the government about the ongoing status of a possible federal prosecution.
It also claims Epstein used “powerful political and social connections to secure a favorable plea deal.”
Tuesday’s filing claims the two new alleged victims were sexually abused and exploited by Epstein, one beginning when she was 15 and the other when she was 16.
One of them, referred to as Jane Doe #3 in the document, claims that an accomplice who Epstein “used to procure under-aged girls for sexual activities” approached her in 1999. That alleged female accomplice allegedly “regularly participated in Epstein’s sexual exploitation of minors” and assisted Epstein as he made Jane Doe #3 into a “sex slave” from 1999 to 2002, the filing says.
The court filing makes claims against others allegedly involved “in Epstein’s sexual abuse ring,” saying, “Epstein also sexually trafficked the then-minor Jane Doe, making her available for sex to politically-connected and financially-powerful people.”
Prince Andrew was one of those named, with the filing claiming that Jane Doe #3 “was forced to have sexual relations with him when she was a minor” in London, New York and on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A palace spokesman, who is not named per custom, pointed out Friday that Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is not a direct party to the “ongoing civil proceedings in the United States.” Andrew is a son of Queen Elizabeth II and a brother of Prince Charles, the next in line for the British throne.
“As such we would not comment on the detail,” the palace spokesman said. “However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
Also accused in the court filing this week of sexually abusing Jane Doe #3 was noted law professor Alan Dershowitz.
“Epstein required Jane Doe #3 to have sexual relations with Dershowitz on numerous occasions while she was a minor, not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” the filing states.
Dershowitz issued an adamant denial, saying the case “is all about money.”
“The entire story is completely made up,” Dershowitz said in the statement.
“I have challenged her lawyers for her to repeat these statements in public so that I can sue them for defamation and I have challenged her to file criminal charges against me, because the filing of false criminal charges, which this one is, is a serious crime,” he added.
A lawyer for Epstein also dismissed the allegations.
“These are stale, rehashed allegations that lawyers are now attempting to repackage and spice up by adding the names of prominent people,” said Epstein’s attorney, Jack Goldberger. “The allegations, which are outlandish on their face and discredited by the evidence, were made in a civil case in which Mr. Epstein is not a party.”
An attorney for the alleged victims, Brad Edwards, said that he was “not able to comment beyond our pleadings at this point nor respond to any denials or threats by anyone.”
Through Edwards’ office, Jane Doe #3 issued a statement saying she is “looking forward to vindicating my rights as an innocent victim and pursuing all available recourse. It appears that I am now being unjustly victimized again.”
CNN’s Phil Gast, Mayra Cuevas and Chandler Friedman contributed to this report.