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The settlement deal between Epstein and Giuffre is released by a federal court

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

A newly publicized settlement between Jeffrey Epstein and one of his accusers could affect a lawsuit against Britain's Prince Andrew. In 2009, Epstein, who was accused of sexually abusing and exploiting girls, reached a settlement deal with Virginia Giuffre, the details of which have been kept secret for over a decade until now. NPR's Jasmine Garsd reports.

JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: In the 2009 settlement, Jeffrey Epstein agreed to pay Giuffre $500,000. But he never admitted that he'd abused her. It's seen by many as a symbol of how the wealthy financier used his money and influence to avoid repercussions. Professor Mary Graw Leary is a human trafficking expert at Catholic University of America.

MARY GRAW LEARY: The pattern with these cases is often - not always - the victim, survivors, are targeted for their vulnerabilities. They are abused for their vulnerabilities. And if they ever have the courage to speak out, then they're used against them.

GARSD: Epstein died while in custody in 2019. It was ruled a suicide. Less than a week ago, his longtime partner, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, was found guilty of enabling his abuse. The charges include trafficking of minors. But the terms of Epstein's agreement with Giuffre live on and might shield other alleged co-conspirators. The agreement, quote, "forever discharges anyone who could be a potential defendant in lawsuits filed by Giuffre." It's unusual, says NYU law professor Stephen Gillers.

STEPHEN GILLERS: The settlement grants immunity to persons in Epstein's orbit. But then it goes on and says, and anyone else who could've been sued. That's unusual.

GARSD: The agreement was published on Monday in response to a civil suit between Virginia Giuffre and Britain's Prince Andrew. Giuffre claims she was forced, as a minor, to have sex with several of Epstein's friends, including the prince. He denies that. And what's more, Prince Andrew's legal team says that 2009 settlement means he can't be sued. Oral arguments will be held today. If Giuffre's lawyers are successful, the prince could face a trial date later this year.

Jasmine Garsd, NPR News, New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF B-SIDE'S "JUST DON'T CARE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jasmine Garsd
Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.