Virginia Giuffre is the name at the heart of the Epstein documents

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The unsealing of court documents related to Jeffrey Epstein has spawned a frenzy among a public eager for information about people who had ties to the late disgraced financier and convicted sex offender.

Yet, with high-profile figures like former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump being named in the first round of newly unsealed documents (neither is accused of wrongdoing in the documents), at the center of this is Virginia Giuffre, one of the most prominent of Epstein’s accusers who has very publicly taken on Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Britain’s Prince Andrew in court.

The documents, which also contain the names of multiple women victimized by Maxwell and Epstein, are from Giuffre’s 2015 defamation lawsuit against Maxwell, which was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum two years later. (Maxwell is currently serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted in 2021 of helping Epstein to sexually abuse girls.) The documents are being parceled out to the public in batches at least through the end of the month.

Giuffre has said in sworn depositions that she was forced into being a “sex slave” for Epstein and his associates after Maxwell recruited her under the guise of a job as a travel masseuse when she was 16.

One of Giuffre’s most explosive allegations was against Prince Andrew, with whom she said Epstein forced her to have sex multiple times as a teenager. Andrew, the second son of the late Queen Elizabeth, gave a disastrous interview to the BBC in 2019 in which he denied Giuffre’s claims and said his relationship with Epstein had “seriously beneficial outcomes.” He also described Epstein, accused of horrific sex crimes against minors, of “unbecoming” conduct.

Giuffre sued Andrew in 2021, accusing him of rape and sexual abuse. His lawyer decried the allegations as “baseless” at the time, and Andrew pledged to fight the lawsuit in court. The queen stripped him of his royal titles in January 2022, and one month later he reached a settlement with Giuffre for an undisclosed sum.

Epstein was arrested and charged with sex-trafficking girls as young as 14 in July 2019. He was found dead in a Manhattan jail one month later; officials determined that he died by suicide, but his death has nevertheless spurred a wave of conspiracy theories.

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