Andrew Neil launches libel claim against Jennifer Arcuri after Epstein tweet

Boris Johnson’s former lover made claims about journalist’s inclusion in a contact book owned by Jeffrey Epstein

Andrew Neil has launched libel proceedings against Jennifer Arcuri, the former lover of prime minister Boris Johnson, after she made allegations about the broadcaster’s inclusion in an address book owned by the convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Legal filings show Neil has made good on his threat to sue Arcuri after she publicly claimed the journalist was on the “pedo elite train”. The former GB News presenter, who is now hosting a show for Channel 4, said Arcuri’s comments were “evil lies” and “vile and untrue accusations”.

Neil has repeatedly said he never met Epstein and the presence of his contact details in the “black book” is because he had previously met Ghislaine Maxwell in New York during the 1990s. Last year Maxwell was found guilty of recruiting and grooming teenage girls for sexual encounters with Epstein.

Arcuri came to prominence after claiming she had an affair with Johnson when he was mayor of London, prompting investigations into the decision to award her startup business tens of thousands of pounds in public money. She also accompanied the future prime minister on trade missions, although Johnson will not face a police investigation over the matter.

Neil said that Arcuri comments were ‘evil lies’ and ‘vile and untrue accusations’.
Neil said that Arcuri comments were ‘evil lies’ and ‘vile and untrue accusations’. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA

Her exchanges with Neil began as a Twitter row about the effectiveness of vaccines before descending into mudslinging about his supposed connection to Epstein. Arcuri has now deleted some of the tweets that prompted Neil to issue his legal threats but this may be too late.

Arcuri, who now lives in the US, is listed as a litigant in person on the high court filings, suggesting she does not currently have legal representative. British libel law places the onus on the person who made the disputed allegations to substantiate their claims.

In a series of tweets about Epstein, Neil also told another Twitter user he had no connection to the deceased former financier: “I’ve never even met him, communicated with him, never mind visited any of his properties or been on his planes, cars, buses, helicopters, ponies,” he tweeted. “Now what is it you don’t understand about piss off. And apologise before you do, please, piss off.”

He also wrote that he had decided to take legal action “not just to hold Arcuri, who I’ve never met and have no interest in, to account but, more important, to establish that the twitterati can’t just promulgate evil lies without consequences. If you think anonymity will protect you, you’re in for a big surprise.”

In a tweet at the end of December, Neil told Arcuri: “My legal team has prepared a massive case against you and we’ll be seeking exemplary damages. Papers will be served in UK and US. I know you’ve been keeping your location private. But tell me, what’s it like in Panama City, Florida this time of year?”

Arcuri responded: “This guy is going to give himself a heart attack.”


Jim Waterson Media editor

The GuardianTramp

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