Judge Lewis Kaplan is currently mulling over a bid from the Duke of York’s legal representatives to have his sex abuse case thrown out before trial
Image: Getty Images)
The judge presiding over Prince Andrew’s civil sex abuse case made several comments which may have left the Duke of York’s legal team worrying.
Judge Lewis Kaplan spoke to representatives for Prince Andrew who argued the civil sex assault lawsuit against him tabled by Virginia Giuffre should be thrown out of court.
The Queen’s son has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing and has always denied the allegations against him.
During a telephone conference on Tuesday in New York the judge questioned several legal arguments brought forward by the Duke’s legal team.
Both sides have been left in limbo as he ended the hour-long talk, promising a decision on whether or not the case should be thrown out ‘pretty soon’.
“What’s a potential defendant?”
Prince Andrew’s lawyers are pushing for the case to be dismissed following the publication of a secret deal on Monday between Ms Giuffre and the dead paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
It stated the accuser agreed not to sue any ‘potential defendant’ connected to the disgraced financier and in return she received a $500,000 payout.
But far from having the case dismissed, the language led the judge to suggest it could be open to interpretation.
He said to Andrew’s representatives: “It would have been easy to say it if they wanted to release ‘anyone involved in any sexual activities.’”
When Andrew’s lawyer, Los Angeles-based Andrew Brettler, suggested he did not think there was a distinction, the judge snapped back: “The word potential must have meant something and if there’s no difference it means nothing.’
“This is the use of the word potential to which neither you nor I can find any meaning at all.”
When Mr Brettler tried to explain what ‘potential defendant’ could have meant the judge answered: “The Sultan of Brunei?”
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
“Sexual intercourse – there isn’t any doubt about what that means”
During the proceedings the judge read out part of the complaint which accused the Duke of sexually abusing the accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home.
Mr Brettler argued it merely showed his client, Epstein and Maxwell forced her to do something against her will and said we ‘do not know what the alleged sexual misconduct was’.
The judge responded with a quip:
Her said: “Sexual intercourse. Involuntary sexual intercourse. There isn’t any doubt about what that means, at least since someone else was in the White House.”
“That’s not a dog that’s gonna hunt here.”
Mr Brettler later insisted Ms Giuffre should provide a date when his client is said to have abused her, saying: “Right now all we have is that she was supposedly 17 years old.
“We don’t have a date, time, location, we don’t know when this was. Giuffre doesn’t articulate what supposedly happened to her at the hands of Prince Andrew.”
The judge interrupted the lawyer to say: “With all due respect Mr Brettler, that’s not a dog that’s gonna hunt here.
“She has no obligation to do that in the complaint. I’ll tell you that straight out right now. It’s not going to happen.”
Both parties are now waiting for the judge’s decision which is expected “pretty soon”.
He previously said a trial could begin between September and December if no settlement is reached.
Epstein killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted on December 29 of recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004.
Andrew’s ties to Epstein have cost him several royal duties.
In 2019 he took part in a car crash BBC interview in which he opened himself up to further accusations with critics saying he failed to show remorse for Epstein’s victims after refusing to say he regretted their friendship.
He insisted one encounter did not happen as he remembered specifically taking his daughter, Princess Beatrice, to Pizza Express in Woking.
The Duke also dismissed having a sexual encounter with Ms Guiffre as she described him ‘sweating heavily’ in a nightclub earlier that evening which he insisted was impossible owing to a medical condition he had at the time which meant he did not sweat at all.