Prince Andrew to face trial over Virginia Giuffre sex abuse claims

·3-min read

Watch: Prince Andrew: Judge refuses to throw out Virginia Giuffre's sexual assault lawsuit

The Duke of York will face a civil trial in the US over sexual abuse claims after a judge dismissed his attempt to have the lawsuit thrown out.

Prince Andrew is being sued by Virginia Roberts Giuffre for rape after he allegedly sexually abused her when she was 17.

Andrew denies all allegations against him.

The civil trial is expected to be held between September and December this year.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the development, saying: “We would not comment on what is an ongoing legal matter."

Ms Giuffre alleges that she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison in 2019 on sex trafficking charges.

Prince Andrew pictured with Virginia Roberts when she was 17 (PA)
Prince Andrew pictured with Virginia Roberts when she was 17. (PA)
File photo dated 11/08/21 of the Duke of York who has been asked to produce key documents in support of his alibi that he did not have sex with his American accuser and confirmation that he did not sweat. Issue date: Friday December 31, 2021.
Prince Andrew now faces a civil court case over sex abuse claims. (PA)
Handout photo dated 12/01/21 of the front page of a 46 page document issued by the US Department of Justice from the Southern District of New York of the written ruling from Judge Lewis A Kaplan that the Duke of York will face a civil sex case trial over allegations he sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre when she was underage. Judge Kaplan dismissed a motion by the Prince's legal team to have the lawsuit thrown out. Issue date: Wednesday January 12, 2022.
The document issued by the US Department of Justice from the Southern District of New York of the written ruling stating that the Duke of York will face a civil sex case trial over allegations he sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre when she was underage. (PA)

Lawyers for Andrew called for the civil lawsuit to be dismissed, arguing Ms Giuffre waived her right to sue him after signing a $500,000 dollar settlement agreement with Epstein in 2009.

In it, Ms Giuffre had agreed to "release, acquit, satisfy, and forever discharge" Epstein and "any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant".

In court, Andrew's lawyer Andrew Brettler said it was "unquestionable" that he could have been sued in the 2009 case, and would therefore be considered a "potential defendant".

But Ms Giuffre's lawyer David Boies said Andrew would not have been considered as the duke was never accused of trafficking individuals for illegal sexual activity.

Lawyer David Boies arrives with his client Virginia Giuffre for hearing in the criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein, who died this month in what a New York City medical examiner ruled a suicide, at Federal Court in New York, U.S., August 27, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Prince Andrew is being sued by Virginia Roberts Giuffre (pictured left, in 2019) for rape after he allegedly sexually abused her when she was 17. (Reuters)

Mr Boies added: "He was somebody to whom the girls were trafficked, that's a different criteria."

Outlining his reasons for denying the Andrew's motion to dismiss the civil case against him, judge Lewis Kaplan said an agreement in the civil settlement between Epstein and Ms Giuffre “cannot be said” to benefit him.

In his ruling, he said: “The 2009 agreement cannot be said to demonstrate, clearly and unambiguously, the parties intended the instrument ‘directly,’ ‘primarily,’ or ‘substantially,’ to benefit Prince Andrew.

“The existence of the requisite intent to benefit him, or others comparable to him, is an issue of fact that could not properly be decided on this motion even if defendant fell within the releasing language, which itself is ambiguous.

“Thus, independent of whether the release language applies to Prince Andrew, the agreement, at a minimum, is ‘reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation’ on the equally important question of whether this defendant may invoke it.”

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