The Duke of York is being sued by Virginia Giuffre, a victim of paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who alleges she had sex with him three times after being trafficked aged 17 – he strongly denies all allegations
The judge in a hearing to decide if the sex case against the Duke of York should proceed to trial has said the decision will come “very soon”.
Prince Andrew is being sued by Virginia Giuffre, a victim of paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who alleges she had sex with him three times after being trafficked aged 17 – while she was a minor under US law.
She began civil proceedings against the Queen’s son, accusing him of sexual assault. Prince Andrew strongly denies all allegations against him.
Judge Lewis Kaplan said after a hearing in New York, which only lasted an hour: “I appreciate the arguments and the passion. You will have a decision very soon.”
The Duke of York’s lawyer Andrew Brettler told the court the case against his client filed by Ms Giuffre should “absolutely be dismissed”.
The thrust of his argument centres around legal documents unsealed and made public on Monday which reveal his accuser – also known as Virginia Roberts – entered into a settlement agreement in 2009.
The papers state the accuser, 38, had agreed not to sue anyone connected to Epstein who could be described as a “potential defendant”.
In return, she is said to have received $500,000 (£371,000) to end her claim against the late financier.
Andrew is not named specially, but his legal representative Mr Brettler previously argued the agreement would bring to an end the lawsuit against his client, and he put his case to Judge Kaplan on Tuesday.
Mr Brettler told the judge the prince ‘should not be dragged into this court 20 years after’.
“She has given plenty of interviews all over the world, then files this lawsuit,” he said. “It is unfair, it is unjust, it should be dismissed.”
The lawyer contended that Queen Elizabeth’s second son was among the “potential defendants” who Ms Giuffre released from liability when she accepted the money to settle with Epstein.
“‘Potential defendant’ is someone who could have been named a defendant in that lawsuit, but was not,” Mr Brettler said during a hearing before the judge.
“I think it’s unquestionable that Prince Andrew could have been sued in the 2009 Florida action.
“I don’t know who would be included in other potential defendants – if it weren’t all of the other people who… Giuffre alleged abused her.
“She could have sued them and she did not and therefore she waived her rights to sue them when she entered into the 2009 release agreement and accepted the money from Mr Epstein.
“She did not return that money when she decided to file this lawsuit.”
But David Boies, representing Ms Giuffre, said Andrew would not be a “potential defendant” as referred to in the civil case documents released on Monday for two reasons.
Richard Baker / University of Rochester)
“The only claim that is asserted that was made in Florida in the 2009 action that covered Prince Andrew was the third count which was to transport somebody for the purpose of illegal sexual activity,” he said.
“There is no allegation that Prince Andrew was the person transporting.
“There is no allegation that Prince Andrew fell into the category of people who were doing the trafficking.
“He was somebody to whom the girls were trafficked.”
The judge said the “real question” is what Ms Giuffre and Epstein intended in entering the settlement.
“We’re talking about whether there are two or more reasonable interpretations,” the judge told Mr Brettler. “I understand your point of view. I understand the other point of view.”
Judge Kaplan said he would rule “pretty soon” but didn’t specify whether that meant hours or days.