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Prince Andrew fails in bid to have sexual assault lawsuit dropped


A federal judge in New York has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against Prince Andrew filed by Virginia Giuffre, a woman who alleges she was sexually trafficked to the royal when she was underage.
“Ms Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘unintelligible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous,'” Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in the ruling against the British royal on Wednesday (early Thursday morning AEDT).

“It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.”

Prince Andrew’s bid to have a sexual assault lawsuit immediately thrown out in the US has failed. (AP)

Ms Giuffre alleged in the lawsuit that the late financier Jeffrey Epstein trafficked her and forced her to have sex with his friends, including the prince, and that Andrew was aware she was underage (17) in the US at the time.

Prince Andrew has denied the allegations and had moved to dismiss the suit.

His attorneys argued that her lawsuit violated the terms of her 2009 settlement agreement with Epstein in Florida, in which she agreed to a “general release” of claims against Epstein and others.

That settlement, which was released to the public last week, shows that Epstein paid Ms Giuffre US$500,000 ($694,637) to drop the case without any admission of liability or fault. The prince’s name does not explicitly appear as a party.

Ms Giuffre’s attorney David Boies has said the settlement is irrelevant to her claim against the prince, noting Andrew did not know about it at the time and that it didn’t apply to him.

Andrew’s attorney had also argued Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit was not sufficient because it did not detail her abuse, and that the New York state law that allowed her to file the suit decades after the alleged abuse was unconstitutional.

Virginia Giuffre holds a photo of herself at age 16, when she says Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein began abusing her sexually.
Virginia Giuffre holds a photo of herself at age 16, when she says Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein began abusing her sexually. (Getty)

“Ms Giuffre doesn’t articulate what supposedly happened to her at the hands of Prince Andrew,” said attorney Andrew Brettler.

“We do not know the details of the allegations and it’s time that we do before Prince Andrew should be required to answer these very serious allegations. He should be told what the allegations are specifically.”

Judge Kaplan pushed back on Mr Brettler’s argument, telling him, “that’s not a dog that’s going to hunt here.”

Judge Kaplan also read a portion from Ms Giuffre’s complaint where she alleges that, as a child, she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew against her will.

The royal could face a trial date between September and December 2022. The long-running allegations against Andrew have already dramatically tarnished his public standing, and he stepped back from royal duties in late 2019.

A photograph appearing to show Prince Andrew with Jeffrey Epstein’s accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre and, in the background, Ghislaine Maxwell. (CNN)

Epstein, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to state prostitution charges, was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019.

Prosecutors accused him of carrying out a decades long scheme of sexual abuse of underage girls, but he died by suicide in prison before he could face trial.

Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend and close associate, was arrested in 2020 and accused of facilitating Epstein’s abuse scheme.



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