Prince Andrew desires to dam the Epstein prosecutor’s lawsuit
An attorney for Prince Andrew, who was sued last month by a woman who accused him of sexually abusing her as a minor, said in a Manhattan court Monday that the lawsuit is likely to be void under an earlier confidential settlement – one, which the prince’s lawyers said reached the woman with Jeffrey Epstein.
The hearing that took place in the closely watched lawsuit of Virginia Giuffre, one of Mr Epstein’s most prominent prosecutors, was the first public response from Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and suggests that his legal department will try any attempt strike back so that the lawsuit can continue. Prince Andrew’s attorney also argued on Monday that his client in the UK had not been properly served legal papers.
Attorney Andrew B. Brettler said Ms. Giuffre’s lawsuit was “baseless, non-viable and potentially unlawful”.
“We have significant concerns about the veracity of this lawsuit,” said Brettler at a hearing in the federal district court in Manhattan.
Ms. Giuffre, 38, alleged in her lawsuit that Prince Andrew, 61, the second son of Queen Elizabeth, kept her under 18 in Mr. Epstein’s mansion in New York and on Mr. Epstein’s private island, Little St. James, in the US Virgin Islands.
She also said in the lawsuit that Prince Andrew, along with Mr Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, forced her to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew in Mrs Maxwell’s London home.
Prince Andrew, who has denied Ms. Giuffre’s allegations, has not been charged with any crimes, but he has long been intruded over the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s investigation against Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell.
Mr Epstein, 66, was arrested on sex trafficking charges in July 2019 and found dead a month later by being hung in his cell in a Manhattan prison. death was counted as suicide. One indictment stated that Mr. Epstein had recruited dozens of underage girls to have sex with him at his Manhattan mansion and Palm Beach estate, after which he paid them hundreds of dollars in cash.
Ms. Maxwell, who was arrested in July 2020, will be tried in November for helping Mr. Epstein recruit, care for, and ultimately sexually abuse underage girls. On one indicted case, she was involved in the sex trafficking of a 14-year-old girl, prepared her to engage in sexual acts with Mr. Epstein, and later paid her. Mrs. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ms. Giuffre has said in previous court records that Mr. Epstein offered her sex to Prince Andrew several times as a teenager.
Mrs. Giuffre’s lawsuit against Prince Andrew includes a photo of him with his arm around her waist, with Mrs. Maxwell smiling in the background. Ms. Giuffre’s lawsuit says the photo was taken at Ms. Maxwell’s house before Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her.
Other Prince Andrew’s attorneys said in a letter to Ms. Giuffre’s attorneys last week that the prince would contest the lawsuit on the grounds that Ms. Giuffre’s attorneys failed to serve him properly, a routine move that one should Defendant formally announces that he has been sued.
“We are not instructed to appear in Mrs. Giuffre’s southern borough of New York City, and we are not instructed to accept service on this suit on the Duke’s behalf,” wrote Blackfords lawyers.
The attorneys also wrote that Ms. Giuffre’s claim against Prince Andrew may be invalid, according to a settlement reached in a 2009 lawsuit against Mr. Epstein in Florida.
Ms. Giuffre’s attorney David Boies attached a copy of the letter from the prince’s attorneys to a court file on Friday. In it, Mr Boies said that the lawyers’ suggestion that the earlier settlement “somehow exempted Prince Andrew from the claims” made by Ms. Giuffre was “wrong” and stated that Prince Andrew was not involved in the earlier case has been.
The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, said in court Monday that he would hear arguments on whether the lawsuit was properly served. But he seemed to be questioning the usefulness of the exertion.
“I can see there is a lot of legal fees being spent and time being wasted and delayed, which ultimately cannot be particularly productive for anyone,” the judge said.
Susan C. Beachy contributed to the research.