A federal judge in New York has rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against Prince Andrew filed by Virginia Giuffre, a woman who claims she was sexually abused by the royal when she was a minor.
“Ms Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘incomprehensible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous’,” Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in the ruling against the British. Royal Wednesday (early Thursday morning AEDT).
“It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in special circumstances in three identifiable locations. It identifies who it attributes to the sexual abuse.”
Mrs Giuffre claimed in the trial that the late financier Jeffrey Epstein traded with her and forced her to have sex with her friends, including the prince, and that Andrew was aware that she was a minor (17) in the United States at the time.
Prince Andrew has denied the allegations and had decided to dismiss the case.
His lawyers 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.
The settlement which was published last week, shows that Epstein paid Mrs Giuffre $ 500,000 ($ 694,637) to drop the case without any admission of responsibility or guilt. The prince’s name does not appear explicitly as a party.
Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies has said the settlement is irrelevant to her claim against the prince, noting that Andrew did not know about it at the time and that it did not apply to him.
Andrews’ lawyer had also argued that Mrs Giuffre’s action was inadequate because it did not describe her abuse, and that the law of the State of New York, which allowed her to file the case decades after the alleged abuse, was unconstitutional.
“Mrs. Giuffre does not formulate what allegedly happened to her in the hands of Prince Andrew,” said attorney Andrew Brettler.
“We do not know the details of the allegations, and it is time that we do so before Prince Andrew is asked to respond to these very serious allegations. He should be told what the allegations specifically are.”
Judge Kaplan withdrew Mr Brettler’s argument, telling him “this is not a dog that is going to be hunted here.”
Judge Kaplan also read part of Mrs Giuffre’s complaint, in which she claims that as a child she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew against her will.
The royal may face a trial date between September and December 2022. The long-running allegations against Andrew have already dramatically tarnished his public status, and he resigned from royal duties at the end of 2019.
Epstein, who in 2008 pleaded guilty to state charges of prostitution, was indicted on federal charges of sex trafficking in July 2019.
Prosecutors accused him of carrying out a decades-long plan of sexually abusing underage girls, but he died of suicide in prison before he could be convicted.
Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s ex-boyfriend and close associate, was arrested in 2020 and charged with facilitating Epstein’s abuse plan.
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