Pre-Trial Hearing For Sex Assault Claim Against Prince Andrew To Be Held Today
A US court will hold a pre-trial hearing today, September 13, for the sex assault civil suit filed against Prince Andrew by Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
In August, Giuffre filed the lawsuit under the New York Child Victims Act, alleging that she had been trafficked by Jeffery Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell to meet with Prince Andrew on three different occasions when she was only 17 years old.
While Prince Andrew has strenuously denied all the accusations and has refused to cooperate with US prosecutor’s’ investigations into Epstein and Maxwell’s crimes, the pre-trial conference for the case will go ahead today in New York.
Despite recently fleeing to Balmoral, the Duke of York was reportedly served with court papers relating to the sexual assault lawsuit, according to one of Giuffre’s representatives. Lawyers are said to have handed the documents to a Metropolitan Police officer on duty at the gates of Prince Andrew’s home, Sky News reports.
However, whether the papers were correctly served or not was questioned by Blackfords, a law firm that represents Prince Andrew in ‘certain UK matters’.
The hearing will consider whether Giuffre’s legal team has done enough in how they delivered the papers to the Prince.
According to a letter from September 6, which is referenced in the court documents, Blackfords also suggested that they will possibly be challenging the court’s jurisdiction in the case.
The hearing is being held by Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Kaplan will decide whether Giuffre’s legal team served the papers in the correct manner to the Prince.
While a source has suggested the Prince thinks the allegations will ‘blow over’ quickly, allowing him to can get back to his royal duties ‘as soon as possible’, if Andrew ignores the lawsuit he could be found in default and required to pay damages.
David Boies, Giuffre’s attorney, said it was impossible for Andrew to not be aware of the civil suit filed against him.
Attorneys at Blackfords, who he has apparently instructed to evade and contest service, have confirmed that Prince Andrew himself already has notice of this lawsuit and is evaluating his chances of success.
And even if Blackfords had not confirmed as much, any other conclusion would be implausible – reputable media outlets around the world reported on the filing of plaintiff’s complaint, and hundreds, if not thousands, of articles about this lawsuit have been published.
While no significant decisions will be made at the pre-trial hearing today, Boies said the conference will make it a lot clearer how the case is set to proceed.
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