Revealed: Prince Andrew’s expensive team of advisers including solicitor nicknamed ‘Good News Gary’ and barrister who acted for Britain’s most violent prisoner – as royal waits to see if judge will throw out rape lawsuit
- Details of Prince Andrew’s advisers, totalling an estimated £2 million, revealed
- Prince was initially told not to appear on Newsnight before car crash interview
- Barrister Stephen Ferguson then created ‘working group’ of PR professionals
- Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex with duke
- Andrew currently awaiting ruling on whether case will be thrown out by judge
Prince Andrew’s expensive team of advisers include a solicitor nicknamed ‘Good News Gary’ and a barrister who acted for Britain’s most violent prisoner.
The Duke of York, 61, is currently awaiting a ruling on whether a lawsuit related to allegations he sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre, then 17, on three occasions in 2001 will be dismissed by a judge in New York.
Ms Giuffre, now 38, claims she was trafficked by billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell to have sex with the prince – at Maxwell’s London home, at Epstein’s New York mansion and on his private island in the Caribbean.
Prince Andrew vehemently denies the claims, but his legal team is currently battling to have the case thrown out on a ‘technicality’ on the basis she waived her right to sue him when she signed an earlier £370,000 ($500,000) legal settlement with Epstein.
They have also accused Ms Giuffre of being after ‘another payday at his expense’.
A ruling on whether the case will proceed to trial could be re returned as early as tomorrow following a hearing on Tuesday.
The allegations, though, have mired the duke for the last two years and led to a car crash interview with Emily Maitlis on Newsnight in which he claimed he was ‘unable to sweat’.
And now details of his expensive list of advisers, totalling an estimated £2 million, The Sunday Times reports.
The list includes a solicitor nicknamed ‘Good News Gary’ and a barrister who represented crime boss Terry Adams and Britain’s most violent prisoner Charles Bronson.
Prince Andrew pictured during an interview with Emily Maitlis on Newsnight. The duke was initially reluctant to appear, but was convinced to give the interview by his private secretary
Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts, aged 17 at Ghislaine Maxwell’s townhouse in London, in March 2001
Prince Andrew came under fire after he was spotted taking a stroll through New York’s Central Park with Epstein following his prison term in 2011
The duk’e ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, is understood to have also been involved in briefing against Ms Giuffre.
A source said the situation ‘is a shambles’ and Andrew is ‘getting terrible advice’, while he has not been helped by his family having ‘given up on him’.
The allegations first came to light in 2011, but the prince did not provide public explanation until the November 2019 interview on Newsnight.
Sources say he agreed to the interview due to be a keenness to fix his reputation before his 60th birthday and the wedding of daughter Princess Beatrice.
It is understood he wanted to ‘get on the front foot’ and finally get his side of the story across to the public.
Andrew was initially dismissive of appearing on Newsnight for an interview on the basis his public relations adviser Jason Stein, former special adviser to Amber Rudd, believed it to be bad idea.
However, he was subsequently convinced by his private secretary Amanda Thirsk.
Prince Andrew’s former public relations adviser Jason Stein told the duke not to appear on the BBC show
Amanda Thirsk, pictured at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2016, received tens of thousands of pounds in a legal settlement after being sacked Andrew’s private secretary
Mr Stein quit after she overruled him.
In the interview, Andrew denied claims that he slept with Ms Giuffre on three separate occasions and said: ‘I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.’
The duke also said he could not sweat owing to a medical condition from the Falklands War and he could not have slept with Ms Giuffre as he was picking up Princess Beatrice from a children’s party at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking, Surrey.
While he left the interview believing it had been a success, despite failure to express convey sympathy for the victims of Epstein, it was a quite the opposite.
Following his appearance on the BBC show, Andrew was asked to step back from public duties.
Ms Thirsk, meanwhile, received a payment of tens of thousands of pounds in a legal settlement after she was sacked.
Not long after the Newsnight interview, longstanding family friend and barrister Stephen Ferguson decided a more structured approach would be best.
Mr Ferguson, who represented Clerkenwell crime syndicate the Adams family and Mr Bronson, then created a ‘working group’ of legal and PR professionals to surround the duke.
Clare Montgomery QC, an extradition lawyer once used by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and Mark Gallagher, a PR veteran, also formed part of a team that met remotely during the early days of the pandemic.
Gary Bloxsome, a criminal defence solicitor at the stellar Blackfords law firm, who became ‘co-head of the dispute resolution team’.
Mr Bloxsome was brought on board by Mr Ferguson to deal with any criminal matters that could arise out of the FBI investigation, as well as a probe being conducted by the Metropolitan Police in Epstein’s affairs in London.
He represented former Crystal Palace FC footballer Jason Puncheon following allegations of a nightclub brawl.
Mr Bloxsome gained Andrew’s trust and became his ‘inner circle of one’, according to a source.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, pictured in Rome, Italy, in December. She split with the prince in 1996, but was involved in briefing against Ms Giuffre
Longstanding family friend and barrister Stephen Ferguson decided a more structured approach would be best. Mr Ferguson, who previously represented Charles Bronson, created a ‘working group’ of legal and PR professionals
Mark Gallagher, a PR veteran, formed part of a team that met remotely during the early days of the pandemic
Clare Montgomery QC, an extradition lawyer once used by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, former part of Andrew’s team
Gary Bloxsome, from London law firm Blackfords, was nicknamed ‘Good News Gary’ as he always presented the duke with a ‘best case scenario’
They key to his success, though, was that he insisted on only briefing prince on the ‘best case scenario’, regardless of the situation.
It led to a nickname of ‘Good News Gary’.
Mr Gallagher’s involvement with Andrew ended with efforts to discredit Ms Giuffre, while he also engaged with a Twitter user who claimed to have evidence that a now infamous picture of the prince with Ms Giuffre at Maxwell’s property in London was doctored.
The duchess, meanwhile, also approached reporters asking them to assist in probing Ms Giuffre.
Mr Bloxsome, though, continued to insist that Andrew be silent on the issue.
However, this led to Ms Giuffre’s legal team being able to ‘own the narrative’, a source said.
The team then hired Andrew Brettler, a California-based top lawyer, to contest the lawsuit in New York late in the day.
Court filings have shown that, as long ago as September, Mr Bloxsome suggested the strategy of using the £370,000 Epstein settlement as a way to have the case thrown out, the Times reports.
Judge Lewis Kaplan told Mr Brettler that he would ‘have the decision pretty soon’ on whether the case will be dismissed.
The hearing was said to be a ‘bruising’ encounter for Andrew’s legal team, with one expert saying the hearing ‘could not have gone worse’.
Judge Kaplan appeared mostly dismissive of the arguments of Mr Brettler.
He said that part of the 2009 settlement protecting ‘other potential defendants’ that Andrew’s lawyers had appeared to be leaning on was ‘unclear’ and pointed to two sentences in the text that seemed to suggest it could not be used by Andrew.
Representatives of Prince Andrew have been contacted for a statement.
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