NEW YORK – Prince Andrew’s effort to immediately block the progress of a lawsuit by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her when she was 17 years old on the grounds that she no longer lives in the United States was brought about by a Federal judge denied as oral arguments were held and will proceed Monday with the king’s motion to dismiss the case.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan on Friday in a written warrant told the prince’s attorneys that they must hand over documents on the schedule set in the lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre in August. Giuffre says she was abused several times by the prince in 2001 while she was sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein. The Prince’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, has called the lawsuit “baseless”.
The order was filed three days before the planned public release on Monday of a 2009 settlement agreement between Epstein and Giuffre. Andrew’s attorneys say the deal will protect the prince from claims such as Giuffre’s and will be sufficient ground for the lawsuit to be dismissed.
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The prince’s lawyers had alleged that the evidence was so strong that Giuffre was not resident in the United States that it was pointless to exchange evidence until this issue was resolved as it could lead to the lawsuit being dismissed.
They argued that Giuffre has lived in Australia for the past 19 years, holds an Australian driver’s license, and lives in a $ 1.9 million home 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. “
Kaplan stated in a unilateral order that the prince’s lawyers had requested that Giuffre submit “extensive” material, including documents relating to her place of residence, by January 14th. And he said the prince’s attorneys had not yet officially advanced the defense that the lawsuit could not be continued on the grounds that Giuffre lived in Australia rather than Colorado, where her attorneys say she resides.
On the front page of a September 2015 lawsuit, Giuffre gave her address as Penrose, Colorado. In an April 2019 cover letter, she gave her address as Palm Cove, Australia, and ticked a box as “Citizen or Subject of a Foreign Country.” But in her lawsuit against the Prince, she gave her address as Ocean Reef, Western Australia, but ticked a box that said “Citizen of Another State”.
Kaplan’s orders did not express an opinion as to the merits of the prince’s allegations that 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 Giuffre made false claims against Andrew for “never sexually abusing or assaulting her”.
“Giuffre initiated 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.
The Associated Press does not usually identify people who claim to have been sexually assaulted unless they want to come out publicly, as Giuffre did.