What is next in the sexual assault lawsuit against Prince Andrew?

What is next in the sexual assault lawsuit against Prince Andrew?
Lawyers set to face off over potential for trial

Lawyers representing Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre are set to do battle next week over the question of whether the American’s sex abuse lawsuit against the Duke of York should continue.

Ms Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell in London, and at two homes owned by Jeffrey Epstein, when she was 17. The duke denies the allegations.

Maxwell, 60, was found guilty on Wednesday of five charges of sex trafficking while Epstein, a former friend of Prince Andrew’s, killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial on further charges.

Andrew’s legal team has previously demanded Ms Giuffre’s civil case be thrown out of court in New York, and has done so again after it was revealed the 38-year-old has lived in Australia for all but two of the last 19 years.

The duke’s lawyers argue Ms Giuffre therefore cannot claim she is a resident of Colorado, bringing into question her ability to sue Andrew in the US. Ms Giuffre’s representatives described the argument as an attempt to “duck and dodge the legal merits of the case”.

Judge Lewis Kaplan will hear oral arguments on 4 January on whether to dismiss Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit against Andrew.

Andrew’s lawyers are also asking Judge Kaplan to order Ms Giuffre to respond to written legal requests about her residency and submit to a two-hour deposition on the subject.

Matters may be further complicated by the unsealing of a 2009 settlement agreement between Ms Giuffre and Epstein next week. Judges said on Wednesday they saw no reason it should not be made public.

Previous claims from both sides about the agreement’s terms – that it either will release Andrew from liability or that it does not function as a “get-out-of-jail-free card” – will be subject to scrutiny as early as Monday.

Whether Ms Giuffre’s case against the duke will get to trial next autumn is now a matter of “wait and see”, according to one lawyer.

Gloria Allred, who represents 20 people who accuse Epstein of further crimes, told BBC Breakfast that while criminal proceedings use “beyond a reasonable doubt” as the standard for proof, “only a preponderance of evidence must be shown in order for there to be the possibility of the defendant being held liable” in a civil case.

She added: “I anticipate many legal arguments on behalf of Prince Andrew, having to do with jurisdiction, the power of the court and other such issues, so we will have to wait and see if his case ever gets to trial or not.”

However, Lisa Bloom, another lawyer who has represented sex attack claimants, told The Daily Mail Andrew should be “quaking in his boots” given his close friend Maxwell was now a convicted sex offender.

Additional reporting by agencies


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