Virginia Roberts Giuffre 2015 Court Testimony [Case 9:08-cv-80736-KAM]

In 2015, Virginia Roberts gave testimony about her alleged life as a trafficking victim of Jeffrey Epstein to a Florida Court in a failed attempt to join a civil suit against the US Government. Two victims of Epstein were suing the US government over a widely criticised plea deal granted to Epstein in 2008, in which multiple charges of sex-trafficking and child sex abuse were watered down to a single count of soliciting prostitution from an underage girl. (BBC report.) Virginia Roberts (‘Jane Doe 1’ in the  case filing) had wanted to join that case as a victim; Judge Kenneth Marra ruled she could appear in any subsequent Epstein case as a witness but not as a victim.

In addition to evidence of trafficking by Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell, Roberts testimony contained claims about having sex with lawyer and Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, on several occasions. Both vehemently deny the claims until this day (see Prince Andrew Newsnight interview analysis blog). Roberts giving testimony under oath to a Florida Court and had legal representation.

virginia-roberts
Virginia Roberts, with Prince Andrew (left)
Patrick McMullan Archives
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
epstein dershowitz
Jeffrey Epstein and Alan Dershowitz

Outliar™ ‘Linguistic Polygraph’ Methodology

OutliarLinguistic Polygraph is based on principles of deceptive communication drawn from Information Manipulation Theory (McCornack et al. 2014): that lies are built on truth and therefore deception most often produces texts that are a strategic mixture of truth and lies. Using this insight, the Outliar methodology utilizes the most sensitive linguistic deception cues (LDCs) drawn from the academic literature (see Hauch et al. 2015 for a good overview), as well as LDCs used on investigator training programmes, in order to identify and separate credible and suspicious content (see Popoola (2017) for a case study). Disclaimer: Outliar is not a lie detector. It is an investigative linguistic tool that highlights credible text segments and identifies suspicious text segments as ‘points of interest’ deserving further investigation i.e. loci of potential deception.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre testimony

virginia giuffre outliar analysis

Credible testimony segments

Segment 1: Roberts describes how she met Epstein and Maxwell and how she was groomed. There are verifiable details as well as sincere reflection on her motivation and willingness to work for Epstein (“they were promising me the world,” line 22). Roberts alludes to the fact that her father accompanied her (“My father was not allowed upstairs, line 15”, ). This embarrassing detail (it is the first and only mention of her father) increases credibility.

VR segment 1

Segment 6: Roberts’ description of meeting Prince Andrew the first time contains clear details of places (Ghislaine Maxwell’s house; Club Tramp), people (Prince Andrew’s security detail), conversations (Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson; Epstein’s instructions) and intention (“exceed everything”- line 157).

VR segment 6

Segment 8: Roberts describes her second and third encounters with ‘Andy’ with additional verifiable details including a new co-witness (Johanna Sjoberg), another alleged Epstein conspirator (Jean-Luc Brunel) and recall of conversations. Roberts is specific about the location of events and freely offers time-specific and contextual information, indicating she is confident of her information and not afraid of incriminating herself.

vr segment8b

Segment 10: Roberts mentions a number of named entities and specific details – Epstein, Brunel, Maxwell, Sarah Kellen, U.S. Virgin Islands, Palm Beach, New Mexico – to give a concise summary of the sex trafficking operation; the main actors  and their motivations are outlined and the varying levels of involvement are conveyed with a measured tone. Rumours that former US President Bill Clinton was also among the public and elite figures that made up Epstein’s alleged clientele are evenly rebutted; this distinction adds credibility to the accusations Roberts does make.

VR segment 10

Segment 12: At the end of her testimony, Roberts admits that she has omitted details in relation to sexual activities to focus her testimony on the trafficking operation (global travel, glamorous events and powerful people). Indications of potentially suspicious or low-credibility testimony should be interpreted in the context of this admission and Roberts’ willingness to divulge further details if legally required. The combination of ‘omission admission’ the truth declaration made under penalty of perjury add to Roberts’ credibility.

VR segment 12

Suspicious testimony segments

Segment 2:  Here, Roberts is distancing herself from events and removing self-agency (High ration of ‘me’ to ‘I’ in comparison to other segments); Roberts may be downplaying her level of willingness (complicitness?) in the circumstances described.  Admission of some level of agency (e.g. admitting that she was not literally imprisoned) would aid credibility.

The role of Ghislaine Maxwell is unclear; it is odd that Roberts describes being fearful of Epstein but not Maxwell although they were allegedly both involved in the training. This lack of coherence may mean pertinent information about Maxwell has been omitted. Contrasting Epstein and Maxwell would aid credibility; nuance and the ability to draw distinctions are signs of veracity.

VR segment 2

Segment 7: High use of ‘we’ indicates Virginia is emphasising her willingness to be included in the company. It is also noteworthy that Virginia use ‘we’ in reference to the claimed ‘sexual activities’ with Prince Andrew. This, and use of the familiar ‘Andy’, also suggests willingness/complicitness. This tone is out of kilter with the general communication of a regimented trafficking operation.

The reference to the ‘sexual activities’ is notably brief compared to the rest of the story and is referenced impersonally. This could indicate omission of pertinent information. Roberts later admits pleasant surprise at receiving $15,000 from Epstein on this occasion with ‘Andy’ (“When I got back from my trip, Epstein paid me more than he had paid me to be with anyone else — approximately $15,000” – see lines 196-198 in in my analysis transcript.

Considering the credibility of the surrounding trext, a reason analysis flags this segment as a suspicious point-of-interest is that Roberts may be omitting information that would explain why she was rewarded so ‘generously’ for the sexual activities alluded to here (see note on omissions in the Segment 12 analysis above).

VR segment 7

Summary and Postscript

This is generally credible testimony because the suspicious segments are actually explained in the credible segments; regarding Segment 2’s elision of the role of Ghislaine Maxwell, this is developed to some extent in other parts of the testimony. Also the main focus of this testimony was the ongoing investigation of Epstein so it may be understandable that Roberts focus was not on Maxwell.

Similarly, although the segment relating to Roberts’ first sexual encounter with Prince Andrew is flagged as suspicious, the subsequent narration of the 2nd and 3rd encounters restore credibility. It may be that the disparity between what Roberts was allegedly paid for the 1st encounter with Prince Andrew, $15000, and the 3-figure sums received on subsequent occasions (see line 208 in my analysis transcript), reflect differences in the service provided that were omitted .

Ambiguity in relation to Roberts’ motivation and incentivisation should be investigated. Questioning should probe the psychological and financial aspect of her ‘working’ relationship with Epstein as well as Roberts’ relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell.

Ghislaine Maxwell latest
Ghislaine Maxwell. Evidence has been offered that this picture, reportedly taken in a Los Angeles burger joint in August 2019, was staged or photoshopped. https://www.businessinsider.com/ghislaine-maxwell-in-n-out-burger-photo-staged-attorney-report-2019-8

 

Prince Andrew Newsnight Interview: Deception Analysis

Prince Andrew + Emily MThe Duke of York interviewed by Emily Maitlis on Newsnight (©BBC 2019)

HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was interviewed by Emily Maitlis in a BBC Newsnight special broadcast on 16 November. The topic of the interview was Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire and convicted pedophile who died in prison whilst being investigated for multiple sex trafficking charges. Prince Andrew was also asked about allegations made by Virginia Giuffre (neé Roberts), one of the women who claimed to have been trafficked and abused by Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre testified under oath in a 2015 court deposition that she had been trafficked to Prince Andrew by Epstein and his partner Ghisliane Maxwell, and that she had “engaged in sexual activities” with Prince Andrew on three occasions.

Andrew Virginia photo depositionandrew epstein
Top: Extract from Virginia Roberts Giuffre 2015 court deposition. Below: Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein in Central Park in 2010.

Newsnight negotiated the interview with Buckingham Palace over a six-month period. After initially refusing an interview with Newsnight in May due to a reluctance to talk about Epstein, Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace agreed to the interview after Epstein’s death in August (see GQ interview with Newsnight producer Sam McAlister ).

Prince Andrew and the palace agreed that no questions regarding the Epstein-related allegations would be off limits; neither were questions agreed in advance. Considering these circumstances of the interview, it seems possible that Prince Andrew was motivated by a desire to clear his name. It is also likely that Buckingham Palace were convinced that the allegations made against Prince Andrew were false. These circumstances point to a strong desire to appear credible and justify a presumption of truth.

Outliar™ ‘Linguistic Polygraph’ Methodology

OutliarLinguistic Polygraph is based on principles of deceptive communication drawn from Information Manipulation Theory (McCornack et al. 2014): that lies are built on truth and therefore deception most often produces texts that are a strategic mixture of truth and lies. Using this insight, the Outliar methodology utilizes the most sensitive linguistic deception cues (LDCs) drawn from the academic literature (see Hauch et al. 2015 for a good overview), as well as LDCs used on investigator training programmes, in order to identify and separate credible and suspicious content (see Popoola (2017) for a case study). Disclaimer: Outliar is not a lie detector. It is an investigative linguistic tool that highlights credible text segments and identifies suspicious text segments as ‘points of interest’ deserving further investigation i.e. loci of potential deception.

Prince Andrew’s Interview

princeandrewoutliaranalysis

Credible interview segments

Segment 3: This is Prince Andrew at his most reflective. He admits that he thought visiting Epstein after his conviction was honourable rather than inappropriate (“I felt that doing it over the telephone was the chicken’s way of doing it” lines 167-168); he notes that he took the decision to visit Epstein himself and against the advice of at least some of his team (“I had a number of people counsel me in both directions…“). Reflective engagement with different perspectives and self-questioning is a cognitively complex stance that is difficult to maintain during deception.

interview segment 3

Segments 6 and 7: These contain a host of ostensibly verifiable details –  information about a Pizza Express visit (lines 371-375); details of a medical condition that prevents sweating (lines 387-393), the kinds of clothes he usually wears when traveling (lines 470-472). In the age of ‘deep fakes’, even his skepticism as to the provenance of the photograph with a 17-year old Virgina Roberts (see above) comes across as reasonable (lines 476-477). As well as verifiable facts, Prince Andrew provides reasons and explanations; all this adds to the credibility

interview segment 6

interview segment 7

Suspicious interview segments

Prince Andrew’s language register shifts significantly in Segment 8; his coherence disappears and he becomes increasingly vague. Up until this point, he has been able to somewhat plausibly deny specific occasions of meeting Virginia Roberts; however, he is unable to convincingly deny knowing Virginia Roberts at all. Prince Andrew doesn’t offer any reasons for not knowing her or concessions towards the fact that people might think he has met her. This runs counter to the reflective and conciliatory register of the remainder of the interview.

interview segment 8

In general, liars don’t like to directly speak lying words. Here, each of Prince Andrew’s propositions in lines 577-580 – ‘I don’t remember meeting her, ‘I don’t remember a photograph being taken’, ‘I’ve said [many times] that we never had…sexual contact’ – can be taken literally as true (i.e. not remembering, saying something frequently). However, this is a key difference between lying – speaking falsehoods – and deception i.e. creating false belief; deception is often executed through exploiting presupposition and perceived credibility cues – without explicitly stating false facts. A more credible answer would include a concession (e.g. “I wish I could remember”) or explanation (e.g. “I rarely, if ever, have met young girls in a casual setting so it’s extremely unlikely…”).

This segment of the interview is particularly awkward for two further reasons. Firstly, Prince Andrew pattern of register change indicates a strong distancing strategy; Andrew literally puts a barrier between himself and Virginia Roberts (“I don’t have a message for her because I have to have a thick skin”, line 589), and quite disparagingly refers to Roberts as just “somebody making allegations”(lines 589-90). This negativity is in stark contrast to the tone of the interview up until now. Liars are more likely to express unmoderated negativity when omitting pertinent information (whereas they become more verbose and personal when exaggerating or falsifying). Secondly, Prince Andrew’s suggestion that a man always remembers having sex because it is a “positive act” is vague and unconvincing; Andrew is trying to emphasize the extent to which he doesn’t remember; it is difficult to prove a negative i.e. that you don’t remember something (just as it is difficult to disprove a negative).

It is most suspicious that Prince Andrew does not address the second half of Maitlis’ double-question: “Is there any way you could have had sex with that young woman or any young woman trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein in any of his residences?” (line 594) . In answer to this question, Prince Andrew’s persistent use of the ‘it’ pronoun to refer to the Virginia Roberts alleged incident than more general allegations is clear avoidance of the second part of Maitlis’ question.

Summary and Postscript

Andrew’s denial of any knowledge of the existence of Virginia Roberts is unconvincing. Questions about her motivation are  denied vociferously but incoherently and with negativity and lack of engagement. This is out of step with the general register of the interview which has a reflective and considered (prepared?) tone. Although Prince Andrew may not have had sex with Virginia Roberts, he is likely to have more information on why she might be making these allegeations.

The photograph below, of Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein on a yacht with a number of scantily-clad young females, indicates that the aforementioned unanswered question may be a key to the Prince Andrew – Epstein mystery.

andrew epstein yacht

Prince Andrew with Jerry Epstein. Phuket, 2001. Credit: Jason Fraser

Prince Andrew Newsnight Interview with Emily Maitlis – Transcript