Prince Andrew may have been prompted to settle Virginia Giuffre’s civil lawsuit against him—for a whopping figure of $14 million, according to some well sourced reports in the British media Wednesday—after seeing an email sent by Ghislaine Maxwell in which the convicted sex trafficker said she thought the photo of Andrew with his arm around Virginia Giuffre’s waist “looks real.”
Maxwell appears in the background of the photo and it was claimed by Giuffre that Epstein took it himself in Maxwell’s London apartment.
Andrew had long claimed the photo was not authentic and had been manipulated, telling the BBC that he had no recollection of ever meeting Giuffre.
And on Monday, less than 24 hours before Andrew and Giuffre dramatically announced they had settled, The Daily Beast revealed that the original version of the photo was lost.
Giuffre’s legal team seemed unconcerned by the inability to find the photo on the part of Giuffre, who said in a deposition that she believed it had been thrust into packing boxes with children’s toys and “nerf guns” when she moved from Colorado to Australia at some point before 2016.
A source on Giuffre’s side, for example, told The Daily Beast that there was “a reason [her lawyer] David Boies is not worried” about not having the original.
Now, emails leaked to the Daily Mail reveal that on January 10, 2015, the lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who was also facing allegations of abuse from Giuffre which have since been dropped, sent an email to Maxwell saying: “Dear G. Do you know whether the photo of Andrew and Virginia is real? You are in the background.”
Just eleven minutes later, Maxwell replied: “It looks real. I think it is.”
Days earlier Andrew had contacted Maxwell, asking: “Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts.”
Maxwell replied: “Have some info. Call me when you have a moment.”
The photograph was said by Giuffre to have been taken in Maxwell’s London townhouse in 2001. However, The Daily Beast revealed Monday that Giuffre had lost the original of the famous photograph, with a source saying: “The picture is not in Virginia’s possession.”
Another source said they didn’t even know if the original of the picture “still existed.”
The picture has earned Giuffre in excess of $140,000 in media fees, and has been examined as potential evidence against Jeffrey Epstein by the FBI.
It was reported yesterday that Prince Andrew was likely to be assisted by his mother’s financial largesse in producing an alleged $14 million settlement payment. Buckingham Palace has not commented on the claims.