Ghislaine Maxwell's email gave Virginia Giuffre case credibility before Prince Andrew's settlement, expert tells GB News

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Andrew leaves St. Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, near royal Sandringham estate, in Norfolk, Britain January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Chris Radburn/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Andrew leaves St. Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, near royal Sandringham estate, in Norfolk, Britain January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Chris Radburn/File Photo

The Duke of York’s legal team raised doubts over the source of the 2001 photograph, which appears to feature Andrew stood with his arm placed around Virginia Giuffre

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An email from Ghislaine Maxwell has been leaked which appears to confirm the authenticity of the infamous picture of Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre.

Ms Giuffre made a claim against Andrew for damages in her home country of the US, claiming she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew’s friend, to have sex with the royal when she was 17, a minor under US law.

In January, Buckingham Palace announced that Andrew would be defending the case “as a private citizen”.

The settlement agreement states that Andrew will donate to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights and that he has pledged to “demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein” by supporting the “fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims”.

Although both parties have settled the case, the agreement is not an admission of guilt from the Duke and he has always strenuously denied the allegations against him.

Ms Giuffre claimed she had lost the original copy of the image and her legal team claimed it was in the FBI’s possession.

Andrew’s legal team questioned whether the image was real and were planning on bringing forward an expert to analyse it during the trial.

But a leaked email between Alan Dershowitz, Epstein's former lawyer, and Ghislaine Maxwell, who also appears in the photograph, appears to confirm that the image is real.

The email could have severely weakened the Duke of York's argument had they gone to trial and given credibility to Ms Giuffre's claims.

Speaking exclusively to GB News, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said: "The photograph from 2001 which has been shown so many times and is a vital piece of evidence at the centre of the case was given credibility by an email exchange between Epstein’s former lawyer Alan Dershowitz and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2015.

"In it Maxwell said 'It looks real. I think it is.' This further weakened Andrew’s case."

Andrew is thought to be unlikely to return to public royal life after the reported eight-figure settlement is said to leave him tainted.