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PIERS MORGAN: Prince Andrew must come clean to the FBI or be forever damned for cowardly silence 


‘If I speak, I am condemned,’ laments Hugh Jackman‘s fugitive character Jean Valjean in the movie version of Les Miserables. ‘If I stay silent, I am damned!’

I suspect that’s exactly how Prince Andrew‘s feeling this morning after the bombshell news that his sex abuse accuser Virginia Roberts is suing him for battery, sexual assault and emotional distress.

Roberts now 38, claims in the lawsuit filed in federal US court that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times – in London, New York and the Caribbean – on the orders of his late billionaire paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein.

The claim is categorized as ‘child abuse’ because Roberts, then 17, was considered a minor at the time under state law.

And it’s ferociously damning in its detail: ‘Prince Andrew’s actions…constitute extreme and outrageous conduct that shocks the conscience. Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse of a child who he knew was a sex-trafficking victim, and when he was approximately 40 years old, goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is intolerable in a civilized community’.

It also accuses Andrew of ‘publicly feigning ignorance about the scope of Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation and sympathy for Epstein’s victims’ and then refusing to cooperate with the FBI.

Virginia Roberts now 38, claims in the lawsuit filed in federal US court that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times – in London, New York and the Caribbean – on the orders of his late billionaire paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein. The claim is categorized as ‘child abuse’ because Roberts, then 17, was considered a minor at the time under state law. Pictured: Roberts as a 17-year-old with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in London 

During each of the three alleged encounters, the lawsuit says Roberts was 'compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, Maxwell and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts' with the Duke. Roberts allegedly 'feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth, and authority'

During each of the three alleged encounters, the lawsuit says Roberts was ‘compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, Maxwell and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts’ with the Duke. Roberts allegedly ‘feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth, and authority’

Roberts (right), who now goes by her married name of Virginia Giuffre, issued a separate statement to ABC News in which she said: 'I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice'

Roberts (right), who now goes by her married name of Virginia Giuffre, issued a separate statement to ABC News in which she said: ‘I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice’

During each of the three alleged encounters, the lawsuit says Roberts was ‘compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, Maxwell and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts’ with the Duke. Roberts allegedly ‘feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth, and authority.’

The lawsuit claims Andrew’s actions ‘constitute sexual offenses as defined in (New York law) including but not limited to sexual misconduct as defined (as) rape in the third degree, rape in the first degree’.

It also asserts the Duke’s conduct amounted to ‘forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree, and sexual abuse in the first degree’ that caused Roberts ‘significant emotional and psychological distress and harm.’

The lawsuit concludes: ‘As a direct and proximate result of Prince Andrew’s criminal acts, Plaintiff has in the past and will in the future continue to suffer substantial damages, including extreme emotional distress, humiliation, fear, psychological trauma, loss of dignity and self-esteem, and invasion of her privacy’.

Wow. Remember, this is the middle son of the reigning Queen of the United Kingdom that she is talking about.

Roberts, who now goes by her married name of Virginia Giuffre, issued a separate statement to ABC News in which she said: ‘I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice. I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first. I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates. But I knew that if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down’.

This is not the first time Roberts has made these claims against Andrew, but it’s the first time she has sued him directly.

And by doing so, she has massively escalated the heat on a man who has repeatedly insisted her claims are untrue but who has also repeatedly declined to be interviewed under oath by the FBI about them.

Now that Epstein's dead, it's possible that nobody does other than him, Virginia Roberts and Epstein's close friend and alleged 'Madam', Ghislaine Maxwell

Now that Epstein’s dead, it’s possible that nobody does other than him, Virginia Roberts and Epstein’s close friend and alleged ‘Madam’, Ghislaine Maxwell

This lawsuit, if it isn't settled before, will likely go to court at the same time Ghislaine Maxwell's own trial starts in November. Maxwell will be under oath, and who knows what she may say to save her own skin?

This lawsuit, if it isn’t settled before, will likely go to court at the same time Ghislaine Maxwell’s own trial starts in November. Maxwell will be under oath, and who knows what she may say to save her own skin?

Make no mistake, this lawsuit represents a very serious development in an ongoing crisis of sensational proportions for Prince Andrew and the Royal Family.

But it’s not an entirely surprising one given that when trailers first aired for Andrew’s train-wreck 2019 BBC interview in which he denied even meeting Roberts, she retweeted this comment by British journalist Peter Barron: ‘Astonishing decision by the royal family to go ahead with this Prince Andrew confessional interview in the hope it would draw a line under the scandal. It will have the opposite effect.’

That prediction was right.

In fact, all the interview achieved was to throw a gargantuan barrel of fuel over a scandal that had been simmering ever since Epstein was accused of paedophile conduct and then exploded when he took his own life in prison to escape justice.

And any hopes that Andrew may have had that the furore might quietly die down just vanished in a puff of incendiary legal smoke.

Perhaps the most powerful part of the lawsuit, and one that will surely resonate most with the public both in America and Britain, read: ‘In this country no person, whether President or Prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection. Twenty years ago, Prince Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her. It is long past the time for him to be held to account’.

It is.

And with every day that goes by without Andrew submitting himself to any form of legal accountability, the finger of suspicion against him grows larger.

Let me clear: I have no idea if he’s telling the truth or not about any of these claims.

Now that Epstein’s dead, it’s possible that nobody does other than him, Virginia Roberts and Epstein’s close friend and alleged ‘Madam’, Ghislaine Maxwell.

Prince Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson said in an interview at the weekend that she is '100 per cent' certain her ex-husband was being honest about his denials of any impropriety. She told the Financial Times: 'I want him [Andrew] to come through this. I want him to win.' I admire her loyalty but there is no chance of Prince Andrew winning anything but a lifetime of public opprobrium until or if he keeps his promise to be interviewed under oath about what he did or didn't do with Virginia Roberts and what he did or didn't know about Epstein's appalling sex crimes

Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson said in an interview at the weekend that she is ‘100 per cent’ certain her ex-husband was being honest about his denials of any impropriety. She told the Financial Times: ‘I want him [Andrew] to come through this. I want him to win.’ I admire her loyalty but there is no chance of Prince Andrew winning anything but a lifetime of public opprobrium until or if he keeps his promise to be interviewed under oath about what he did or didn’t do with Virginia Roberts and what he did or didn’t know about Epstein’s appalling sex crimes

But let me also be clear: given the shocking claims in this lawsuit, Andrew must now agree to be interviewed by the FBI or we will all be entitled to draw our own conclusions from his refusal.

His ex-wife Sarah Ferguson said in an interview at the weekend that she is ‘100 per cent’ certain her ex-husband was being honest about his denials of any impropriety.

She told the Financial Times: ‘I want him [Andrew] to come through this. I want him to win.’

I admire her loyalty but there is no chance of Prince Andrew winning anything but a lifetime of public opprobrium until or if he keeps his promise to be interviewed under oath about what he did or didn’t do with Virginia Roberts and what he did or didn’t know about Epstein’s appalling sex crimes.

Make no mistake, these are the most serious allegations any member of the Royal Family has faced in my lifetime.

And the more Andrew refuses to co-operate, the worse the situation gets for him and the more damage he does to the reputation of the Monarchy.

This lawsuit, if it isn’t settled before, will likely go to court at the same time Ghislaine Maxwell’s own trial starts in November.

Maxwell will be under oath, and who knows what she may say to save her own skin? It’s enough to make even Andrew, who claims he doesn’t perspire, sweat like a human waterfall.

As the shamed Prince hides away in his home at Windsor Castle today, perhaps pondering whether to speak up and be condemned, or stay silent and be damned, he should also ask himself what Jean Valjean repeatedly asks himself in the Les Miserables song where he reflect on that dilemma: ‘Who Am I?’

Stop being a gutless coward, Andrew – and face the music.

Or the court of public opinion will convict you, and never forgive you.



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