A former staffer to Prince Andrew who is believed to have run much of his diary and is likely to have intimate knowledge of his movements over the years has been asked to testify in the civil case being brought against him by Virgina Giuffre, who accuses Andrew of raping her three times.
Robert Olney, now a senior executive at Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, has been formally requested to give evidence to Giuffre’s lawyers by the presiding judge, Lewis A Kaplan. The judge has imposed an April 29 deadline for his cooperation.
Olney could decline to accede to the request, as the U.S. court does not have jurisdiction over people who are not U.S. residents. When his name was first revealed as a person that Giuffre’s side wanted to depose, his wife told reporters: “I’m sorry, but Rob is not going to say anything, he’s got nothing to say.”
However Andrew’s side may conclude that it is better to encourage Olney to go forward lest his non-cooperation is perceived as an attempt to frustrate the legal process. In the early days of the case, Andrew was widely criticised for “hiding behind his mother’s skirts” after he appeared to attempt to dodge service of legal papers by moving between various royal residences.
The Daily Beast has been told by sources in Andrew’s camp that they strongly dispute this characterisation of events and say he has never attempted to evade proper service.
Olney was a frequent figure by Andrew’s side when the prince was in his pomp in his role as roving trade ambassador for the U.K. He took on the role after retiring from the Royal Navy in 2001 and was nicknamed “Airmiles Andy” for what some critics saw as an excessive appetite for luxury foreign travel. He stood down in 2011 as the extent of his links with the pedophile Jeffrey Epstein were beginning to be exposed.
Olney, who worked for the prince as an equerry until 2004, was frequently listed in the official court circular as being “in attendance” to the prince on foreign trips, including high-profile missions to destinations including America.
Judge Kaplan has now asked the U.K. courts to request they make Olney available to Virginia Giuffre’s team, who say they want to question Olney about Andrew’s travel to Epstein’s homes and about any communications with Epstein and his accomplice, convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.
Giuffre’s lawyers have also had rubber-stamped their request to seek to depose a woman who says she trod on Prince Andrew’s toe in Tramp nightclub when he was allegedly with Giuffre.
Prince Andrew, who denies all the allegations, has claimed he was at a Pizza Express on the night in question with his young daughters.
However, Shukri Walker says she remembers seeing Andrew and Giuffre in the London nightspot after apologising to him after stepping on his foot.
Andrew has also been granted assistance in two requests his side have made to seek to depose overseas citizens, including Giuffre’s husband Robert and her psychologist Dr. Judith Lightfoot.
Lightfoot, documentation shows, will be asked by Andrew’s team to discuss “the theory of false memory.”
Again, as non-U.S. citizens they are not under any obligation to consent to the depositions.