Prince Andrew will face civil trial over claims he had sex with teenager

Prince Andrew 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 after the Duke of York’s lawyer argued earlier this month that the case should be dropped.

They had explained that Ms Giuffre had waived her right to go after the Duke by signing a confidential settlement with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein back in 2009.

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Judge Lewis Kaplan explained his reasons for denying the Duke of York’s motion to dismiss the civil case against him, saying in his ruling: “The 2009 Agreement cannot be demonstrated as clear and unequivocal that the parties intended the instrument ‘direct’ . primarily” or “substantially” in favor of Prince Andrew.

“The existence of the requisite intent to benefit him or others like him is a question of fact which could not be properly decided in this motion, even if the defendant fell into declassifying language, which is itself ambiguous.”

“Therefore, regardless of whether release language applies to Prince Andrew, the agreement is at least ‘reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation’ on the equally important issue of whether that defendant can invoke it.”

At the conclusion of his written decision, Judge Kaplan added, “For the foregoing reasons, defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint or to provide further testimony is denied on all counts.

“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 the agreement refutes the 2009 agreement.”

Ms Giuffre is suing Prince Andrew for allegedly sexually assaulting her as a teenager.

She 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”.

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

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

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