Prince Andrew Loses Bid To Dismiss Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
Prince Andrew’s request to dismiss the sexual abuse lawsuit brought against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre has been dismissed by a US judge.
The Duke of York’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, requested the case be dismissed during a video teleconference presided over by judge Lewis A Kaplan today, January 12.
The proceedings took place after lawyers ‘unequivocally’ denied the allegations made by Giuffre, who alleged she was sexually assaulted by Prince Andrew on multiple occasions when she was 17 years old.
In the lawsuit, filed under the state’s Child Victims Act in August 2020, a now 38-year-old Giuffre claimed one of the encounters took place during a trip to London in 2001, for which she was paid $15,000, another took place in New York, and the third on Little Saint James, a small private island in the US Virgin Islands.
Giuffre has claimed she was trafficked to Andrew by Jeffrey Epstein, who paid Giuffre $500,000 (£371,000) in 2009 not to sue anyone connected to him who could be described as a ‘potential defendant’. Andrew’s lawyers used this 2009 agreement as part of their argument for the dismissal of the case, claiming the deal protects the prince from being sued.
The Duke of York is not mentioned in the agreement by name, though it says it serves to ‘remise, release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge’ parties and ‘any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant’, CNN reports.
During the hearing today, Brettler described ‘potential defendant’ as ‘someone who can be named as a defendant in the lawsuit but was not. Someone who was not named as a defendant but could have been by the nature of the allegations.’
He continued: ‘I think its unquestionable that Prince Andrew could have been sued in the 2009 Florida action. He was not.’
Judge Kaplan said there are ‘two or more’ reasonable interpretations of what could be included under the term ‘potential defendant’, one of which is that it was intended to be used more narrowly than Brettler claimed, meaning Andrew would not be exempt from the lawsuit.
The judge also pointed to language in the agreement which says it is not to be used ‘by any other person in any other case’, suggesting that Andrew may fall under the umbrella of ‘any other person’ as he was not party to the 2009 settlement.
Giuffre’s laywer, David Boies, has argued Andrew would have to meet two criteria to be considered a ‘potential defendant’; to have been ‘subject to jurisdiction’, and to have been engaged in the ‘kind of conduct’ mentioned in the agreement.
He continued: ‘There’s no allegation that Prince Andrew fell into category of people who was doing trafficking. He was someone to whom the girls were trafficked. So we think for two reasons he is not a potential defendant.
Brettler also argued his case by claiming Giuffre needed to ‘lock herself into a story’, saying she had not provided ‘a date, a time a location other than an apartment’ and that she had not explained ‘what this alleged abuse was’.
Kaplan, however, told Brettler that Giuffre had ‘no obligation to do that in a complaint’, and stressed that the lawsuit clearly alleged that ‘Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff, a child, to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will.’
The judge said there was any doubt over the meaning of ‘nonconsensual sexual intercourse’, adding: ‘Not since someone else was in the White House.’
A third argument presented by Brettler was that Andrew should not be ‘dragged into this courtroom’ 20 years after the alleged abuse took place, with the lawyer pointing out that Giuffre could have filed the suit earlier.
Andrew claimed he had ‘no recollection’ of ever meeting Giuffre after her accusations came to light, though flight logs and photos showed the pair had previously spent time together.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays
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