Judge rejects Prince Andrew's efforts to stop sex assault lawsuit

An attempt by the Duke of York to immediately block the progress of a lawsuit by a woman who said she sexually assaulted her at the age of 17 on the grounds that she no longer lives in the United States was made by one Federal judge refused.

Judge Lewis A Kaplan on Friday in a written warrant told the prince’s attorneys that they must release documents on the schedule set in the lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre in August.

Ms. Giuffre says she was abused by the Prince several times in 2001 when she was sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew has denied all allegations.

The Prince’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, has called the lawsuit “baseless”.

The order was filed three days prior to the planned public release of a 2009 settlement agreement between Epstein and Ms. Giuffre.

Andrew’s attorneys say the deal will protect the prince from claims such as those made by Mrs. Giuffre and will be sufficient ground for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

The prince’s lawyers had alleged that the evidence was so strong that Ms. Giuffre did not reside in the United States that it was pointless to exchange evidence until this issue is resolved as this could result in the lawsuit being dismissed.

They argued that Ms. Giuffre has lived in Australia for the past 19 years, holds an Australian driver’s license and lives in a house in Perth, Western Australia where she is raising three children with her Australian husband.

In a statement, Giuffre’s attorney Sigrid McCawley called the motion to drop the case “just another in a series of tired attempts by Prince Andrew to duck and dodge the legal merits of the trial Virginia Giuffre brought against him. All parties to litigation are subject to determination and Prince Andrew is no exception. “

Judge Kaplan ruled in a unilateral order that the prince’s lawyers had requested that Ms. Giuffre submit “extensive” material, including documents relating to her place of residence, by January 14th.

And he said the prince’s attorneys have not officially brought the defense, that the lawsuit cannot proceed on the grounds that Ms. Giuffre lived in Australia and not in Colorado, where her attorneys say she resides.

His orders did not express an opinion on the prince’s demands that Ms. Giuffre should be excluded from the lawsuit because she lives in Australia.

Oral negotiations on the prince’s motion to drop the case via video telephony are planned for Monday morning.

In October, the prince’s lawyers attacked the lawsuit on several grounds, saying Ms. Giuffre made false claims against Andrew for “never sexually abusing or assaulting her”.

“Giuffre has brought this unsubstantiated lawsuit against Prince Andrew to get another payday at his own expense and at the expense of his close relatives. Epstein’s abuse of Giuffre does not justify her public campaign against Prince Andrew, ”the written arguments read.

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan federal prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

His former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, was convicted on Wednesday after a month-long trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.

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