Giuffre’s Prince Andrew costume continues despite Epstein deal

FILE - Britain's Prince Andrew is pictured on August 11, 2021. Prince Andrew will face a civil sex case after a US judge rejected a request from his legal team to have the lawsuit dismissed, a- was reported on Wednesday January 12.  , 2022. (Neil Hall / PA via AP, on file)

FILE – Britain’s Prince Andrew is pictured on August 11, 2021. Prince Andrew will face a civil sex case after a US judge rejected a request from his legal team to have the lawsuit dismissed, a- was reported on Wednesday January 12. , 2022. (Neil Hall / PA via AP, on file)

PA

A judge has – so far – refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Britain’s Prince Andrew by an American who says he sexually assaulted her when she was 17.

Stressing Wednesday that he was not ruling on the veracity of the allegations, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected an argument by Andrew’s lawyers that Virginia Giuffre’s trial should be dismissed at an early stage due to ‘a former legal settlement she made with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier she claims arranged for sex with the prince.

Kaplan said the $ 500,000 settlement between Epstein and Giuffre does not involve the prince and does not preclude a lawsuit against him now.

Giuffre sued Andrew, 61, in August, claiming she was coerced into sex with him in 2001 by Epstein and his longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre said she was sexually assaulted by Andrew at Maxwell’s London home, Epstein’s mansion in New York City and his property in the US Virgin Islands.

Andrew’s lawyers had said the lawsuit lacked specificity and was disqualified by the deal she made in 2009 with Epstein’s lawyers. They also attacked Giuffre’s credibility and motives, saying in October that the lawsuit was aimed at getting “another salary at his expense and at the expense of those close to him”.

Lawyers for the prince have said Andrew has never abused or sexually assaulted Giuffre and that he “unequivocally denies Giuffre’s false allegations against him”.

The prince himself has vigorously denied Giuffre’s claims. In late 2019, Prince Andrew told BBC Newsnight that sex with Giuffre “had not happened” and that he had “no memory” of ever meeting her. His statements led critics to say that he seemed insensitive to Epstein’s victims. Subsequently, the prince stepped back. royal duties.

His lawyers did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Wednesday. Buckingham Palace told The Associated Press it would not comment on “the pending legal matter.”

Sigrid McCawley, attorney for Giuffre, said in a statement that Kaplan’s decision “is another milestone in Virginia’s heroic and determined quest for justice as a survivor of sex trafficking.”

As Andrew denies the allegations, Buckingham Palace will want him to settle the case so Queen Elizabeth II can move on without more sordid headlines that weaken the monarchy and taint every member of the Royal Family, said Mark Stephens, International Law Specialist at Howard. Kennedy in London.

Stephens said Wednesday’s decision meant that the process of delaying every technical point open to them under the law did indeed go through. While Andrew is likely to appeal, the case will move forward and he will be embarrassed to have to testify about his alleged activities with a 17-year-old.

“The practical realities of this position have stuck a noose around Prince Andrew’s neck,” Stephens said. “He has to settle down. He has to get out. Or it’s a dead man walking.

Kaplan noted that he was required by law, at this point in the litigation, to assume Giuffre’s claims to be true, although lawyers for the prince may question the veracity of the claims at trial. The judge said a trial would not take place until the end of the year, at the earliest. The depositions of the prince and Giuffre would take place before that date.

Giuffre’s deal with Epstein came a decade before the financier committed suicide in a Manhattan dungeon as he awaited a sex trafficking trial in 2019, more than a decade after federal prosecutors in Florida declared made an agreement with his lawyers not to prosecute him. His attorneys have claimed that the Florida deal precluded the New York charges.

Likewise, Andrew’s attorneys cited terms in Epstein’s recently unsealed $ 500,000 settlement with Giuffre that his claims against “potential defendants” were also dismissed by the deal.

But Kaplan wrote that there were substantial indications in the settlement that Epstein and Giuffre did not clearly intend to “directly”, “primarily” or “substantially” benefit someone like the prince. He noted that the prince was not a party to the cartel.

He also said the agreement was “far from being a model for clear and precise drafting.”

The judge’s findings reflected comments he made during oral argument on both sides when he was particularly dismissive of arguments made on behalf of the prince.

Epstein, 66, committed suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial, while his ex-girlfriend Maxwell, 60, was recently convicted of sex trafficking and conspiracy in court New York Federal. Giuffre’s allegations against Andrew were not part of either of the two criminal cases.

The AP generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they choose to come forward publicly, as Giuffre did.

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AP journalist Danica Kirka contributed from London.

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