Prince Andrew fails in bid to get US civil sex case thrown out

The Duke of York is on trial over allegations that he sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre when she was a minor after a US judge ruled her civil suit can go ahead.

Judge Lewis A Kaplan’s decision comes as a major blow to Andrew, whose lawyer earlier this month argued the case should be dropped because Ms Giuffre had waived her right to prosecute the Duke by reaching a confidential settlement with the disgraced man fallen financier Jeffrey Epstein signed.

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At the conclusion of his written judgment, Judge Kaplan said, “For the foregoing reasons, defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint or to provide clearer testimony is denied in all respects.

“Given the Court’s limited role in deciding this motion, nothing in this Opinion or previously in this Proceeding should be construed as expressing any opinion as to the truthfulness of the charges or counter-charges, or as to the intent of the parties of the agreement refutes the 2009 agreement.”

This year is a time of celebration for the royal family as it marks the Queen’s platinum jubilee, but the monarch and senior royals face the prospect of the duke’s accuser giving a detailed account of her allegations in court this autumn .

The institution of monarchy is likely to be damaged by Ms Giuffre’s civil sex case, which is being tried in New York and is expected to make headlines around the world.

Andrew’s reputation was already irreparably tarnished by his friendship with Epstein, a convicted sex offender, and he retired from public duties shortly after his disastrous 2019 Newsnight interview that failed to thwart his relationship with the disgraced financier back.

Ms Giuffre is suing the Queen’s son for allegedly sexually assaulting her as a teenager.

She is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions.

Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law.

The Duke has vehemently denied the allegations and his legal team argued at the first hearing of the lawsuit that the case was “baseless”.

It has been speculated that the Duke may be encouraged to reach an agreement with his accuser to avoid the trial being held.

When the hearing goes ahead, it’s not clear whether Andrew will testify in person, via video link, or decline to attend.

The settlement between Ms Giuffre and Epstein, released earlier this month, details how Andrew’s accusers received a $500,000 (£370,000) payout in 2009 and agreed to “release, acquit” the disgraced financier , to satisfy and exonerate forever’ and ‘any other person or entity who might have been included as a potential defendant’.

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Andrew B. Brettler, the Duke’s attorney, had argued during a virtual hearing that his client was a “potential defendant” under the terms of the agreement and therefore “the case should be dismissed.”

The attorney said a potential defendant would be someone Ms. Giuffre knew had “claims against Epstein when she filed the lawsuit in 2009,” against Epstein, whose former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell was accused of procuring teenage girls on December 29 was convicted for him.

In counterargument, David Boies, Ms. Giuffre’s attorney, said only the parties to the settlement agreement — Epstein and Ms. Giuffre and their associates — could benefit and not a “third party” like Andrew.

He added that the Duke would not be a “potential defendant” for the purposes of the settlement because the 2009 lawsuit made no allegation that the Duke trafficked persons for illegal sexual activity.

The attorney told the hearing, stopping arguments for the case to be dismissed: “He was someone the girls were sold to – that’s a different criterion.”

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