NEW YORK – A new attorney for Britain’s Prince Andrew said Monday the royal had not been served a proper copy of a new lawsuit filed by a woman who says she was forced to have sex with him at the age of 17 and that he intends to challenge jurisdiction in this case.
Hollywood attorney Andrew Brettler went on the offensive against Virginia Giuffre, telling a judge in New York that her allegation was “baseless, unsustainable and potentially unlawful.”
Andrew has repeatedly denied allegations in Giuffre’s lawsuit, which said that as a teenager in Florida she was one of many girls and young women sexually abused by convicted sex offender and millionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
In her lawsuit and in interviews, Giuffre says she traveled to London with Epstein in 2001 and had sex with Andrew after a night of dancing at the home of British celebrities Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre said Epstein paid her $ 15,000 and then arranged for her two more sexual encounters with the prince in New York and the US Virgin Islands.
Andrew has denied the allegations, saying in an interview that he can’t remember ever meeting Giuffre, although at least one photo appears to show them together. Andrew said he was “unable to explain” the picture his hand appears to be showing on the woman’s side, suggesting that it may have been tampered with.
Brettler told the judge that the lawsuit against Andrew – who is the Duke of York – “exempts the Duke and others from any potential liability” through an earlier settlement agreement that remains under seal. He added that Andrew intends to ask the UK High Court to rule on the matter.
“We have significant concerns about the adequacy of this lawsuit,” said Brettler, whose clients include several celebrities accused of sexual misconduct.
Giuffre had previously settled a lawsuit against Maxwell over their allegations.
Maxwell is awaiting trial in the United States on charges of helping recruit young victims of Epstein abuse. She had pleaded not guilty of pleading guilty to the sex trafficking conspiracy and additional sex trafficking charges
This case does not concern Giuffre or Andrew. Epstein committed suicide weeks after his 2019 arrest.
Brettler made a procedural argument on behalf of Andrew at the first preliminary hearing on the case Monday and said Monday that Giuffre’s legal team had failed to take the proper steps to open the case, including providing Andrew with a copy of the lawsuit. Giuffre attorneys say the documents were handed over to a police officer on duty at the main gate of Andrew’s home in Windsor Great Park on Aug. 27.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan did not make an immediate ruling on the matter, but told attorneys what bureaucratic hurdles would ultimately be resolved in serving the lawsuit and that the case would be litigated.
“I think we’re making this a lot more complicated than it really is,” said the judge. “Let’s cut out all the technical details and get to the content.”