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Prince Andrew to face civil sex case after US judge rules trial can go ahead

Published: January 12, 2022
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Source: the guardian

Longtime Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre’s sexual abuse lawsuit against him can move forward, as a New York judge rejected the royal’s efforts to dismiss her civil claim on Wednesday.

Giuffre, who has alleged that the late financier Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell sexually abused her, said they forced her into sex with the Duke of York at age 17. She filed suit against the royal on 9 August, citing battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Prince Andrew’s legal team had argued in court papers and proceedings that Giuffre’s 2009 settlement with Epstein shielded him from her lawsuit. The settlement, which was unsealed on 3 January, awarded Giuffre $500,000.

Their agreement contained a provision that stated: “Second parties and any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant … from all, and all manner of, action and actions of Virginia [Giuffre], including state or federal, cause and causes of action.”

Andrew was not mentioned by name in this settlement.

In explaining why he rejected Andrew’s motion to dismiss, Manhattan federal court judge Lewis Kaplan said it was premature to consider the prince’s efforts to cast doubt on Giuffre’s accusations.

He pointed out that this push for dismissal largely relied on the royal’s claims that Giuffre’s complaint was legally insufficient, which, in turn, were rooted in Andrew’s discussion of the 2009 agreement.

Kaplain said: “The law prohibits the court from considering, at this stage of the proceedings, the defendant’s efforts to cast doubt on the truth of Ms Giuffre’s allegations, even though his efforts would be permissible at trial.”

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