As The Daily Beast exclusively reported last week, Prince Andrew has dramatically changed his legal strategy in the civil case being brought against him by alleged Jeffrey Epstein sex slave Virginia Giuffre, who accuses Andrew of raping her three times.
There is fresh evidence of that new direction today after the prince’s camp briefed The Daily Beast that Andrew intends to dispute testimony from a woman who claims to have seen him in London’s Tramp nightclub with Giuffre.
Andrew memorably claimed in his disastrous Newsnight interview that he couldn’t have been at Tramp on March 10, 2001, because he was at home with his children after attending a pizza party with one of his daughters in the suburban town of Woking.
Andrew appears to be sticking to that story.
Despite a widely circulated photograph of the Duke of York with his arm around a then-17-year-old Virginia Giuffre’s bare midriff, Andrew has repeatedly said he has “no recollection” of ever meeting Giuffre and has vehemently denied having sex with her.
Andrew also told BBC interviewer Emily Maitlis that the “traveling clothes” he was wearing in the picture were not clothes he would wear in London. Unfortunately for Andrew, images of him leaving another London nightclub, Chinawhite, in July 2000, swiftly emerged, showing him wearing almost the exact same outfit.
What is arguably encouraging to Andrew’s case, however, is that since the interview was aired, only one witness is known to have come forward to support Giuffre’s claims that Andrew that night was in Tramp, a busy and popular venue at the time. That person is Shukri Walker, who told the FBI that she definitively remembered seeing him, and that the meeting was seared into her memory because she had apologized to Andrew after stepping on his foot while dancing. Walker has now said that she is prepared to give evidence in Giuffre’s civil action.
Walker’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, told The Mirror: “Ms. Walker has already given her evidence to the FBI and been very consistent in what she has said. She had never been in the presence of a royal before or since and so it was very memorable to her. If she is called as a witness she will do her duty.”
Walker previously said: “Andrew looked like he was having a great time. He was with this young girl who was close to my own age, perhaps even a bit younger than me… I will never forget the night because I was told this is a real prince.”
However, a friend of Andrew’s pushed back after the claim surfaced, telling The Daily Beast: “We understand that the FBI have previously declined the testimony of Shukri Walker, who last year offered this same set of ‘recollections’ to national newspapers for a six-figure sum.
“She seems to be in a minority of one in her recall.
“Tramp nightclub, which does not have either a back or side entrance, was a popular celebrity hangout and had paparazzi staked outside of its doors every night of the week. It is worth noting that not a single image of the duke either arriving or leaving Tramp’s on the weekend in question has ever emerged.”