Prince Andrew is seeking sworn testimony from a Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell victim that will claim his accuser Virginia Roberts recruited her at 14 and trained her to give sexual massages, it has been claimed.
The high-risk gamble is part of the Duke of York’s ‘unclean hands’ defence strategy, which will see his lawyers argue Ms Roberts does not deserve damages because she was complicit in a ‘criminal enterprise’.
But the move could backfire against the royal, as his witness, Carolyn Andriano, recently corroborated claims that Ms Roberts had sex with Andrew at Maxwell’s London home when she was 17 – meaning she could do so yet again under oath.
‘It’s potentially a double-edged sword,’ a source familiar with the duke’s strategy told the Times.
Andrew’s team are now looking for other women who may have been recruited by Ms Roberts while under age.
‘We are interested in speaking with and interviewing anyone and everyone who has information relevant to these allegations,’ the source added.
Prince Andrew’s team are now looking for other women who may have been recruited by his accuser Virginia Roberts while under age
Prince Andrew will face a showdown with his sex accuser Virginia Roberts’ lawyers during a deposition for their high-profile New York court battle
Ms Roberts is suing Andrew in New York over claims she was trafficked by paedophile financier Epstein and forced to have sex with the prince on three occasions when she was 17. Andrew vehemently denies the claims.
It emerged this weekend that the Duke of York is set to meet lawyers representing Ms Roberts in London on March 10, where he will testify under oath according to sources close to the royal.
‘We agreed to voluntarily produce the Duke for a deposition on March 10. Despite repeated requests, Ms. Giuffre (Roberts) still hasn’t committed to a date or location for her deposition,’ a source close to the Duke said on Saturday.
The news broke just a day before the Queen, Andrew’s mother, is set to mark her 70th year on the throne as part of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The Prince is being prepared by his UK-based legal team as he prepares to face a grilling over the span of two days by David Boies, 80, one of America’s most renowned attorneys, and Sigrid McCawley.
Andrew, who was stripped of all his military titles and royal peerages last month after the case was confirmed as going to trial, will be questioned about three alleged assaults in 2001.
Meanwhile, Ms Andriano looks set to form a key part of Andrew’s defence.
Infamous: The photo that Carolyn says Virginia Roberts showed her
The now-35-year-old was one of four victims who gave testimony that helped convict Maxwell on child sex trafficking charges in New York in December.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, she decided to waive her anonymity and accused Ms Roberts of being complicit in the Maxwell-Epstein trafficking ring.
She told the paper: ‘At 14 years old, I was big-breasted and I definitely could pass for 21 when I was made up.
‘I did my own make-up, but Virginia gave me clothes. She gave me these really tight skimpy shorts with a spaghetti-strap top with all my cleavage hanging out. She just said ‘Whatever you do, don’t say your age.’ And I didn’t even ask why. I went along with it.’
She claimed that the girls gave Epstein a nude massage and that Ms Roberts had sex with him.
She added: ‘I didn’t know what to do or say, or where to go, so I sat on the couch and watched until it was finished. We walked back downstairs and Maxwell asked, ‘How did everything go?’
‘Virginia gave her a look to say it was a great session and that’s when Maxwell asked me for my telephone number.’
She continued: ‘I don’t think Virginia deserves anything less than what Maxwell is getting because she trafficked me into a world of spiralling downward slopes and it has taken my husband, John, 12 long years to get me to love myself again.’
But she also recalled how Ms Roberts boasted about ‘sleeping with Andrew’ and meeting with him and Epstein for dinner – which she could repeat under oath.
Virginia Roberts’ lawyer, David Boies, has previously stated: ‘Virginia has said for years that her role in facilitating other young women’s involvement is something that she has always regretted. But that fact doesn’t have anything to do with the truth of her allegations [against Prince Andrew].’
That could prove troublesome for Andrew, who claims to have no recollection of ever meeting Ms Roberts – although his lawyers could argue Ms Roberts was exaggerating or lying when she told Ms Andriano those details.
Ms Andriano said: ‘I asked her if she’d been to the palace. And she said ‘I got to sleep with him’. I said ‘What? You’re f***ing with me’, and she said, ‘No, I got to sleep with him’.
‘She didn’t seem upset about it. She thought it was pretty cool.’
Andrew’s claim that he never met Ms Roberts comes despite a now-infamous photograph seemingly showing them joined at the hip – which the royal says may have been faked.
He has asked for an original copy of the photo but Ms Roberts’ team has failed to deliver it so far.
Ms Roberts lawyer, David Boies, has previously said: ‘Virginia has said for years that her role in facilitating other young women’s involvement is something that she has always regretted.
‘But that fact doesn’t have anything to do with the truth of her allegations [against Prince Andrew].’
A spokeswoman for the duke declined to comment.