Prince Andrew to face civil trial after failing to get case dismissed
The Duke of York has failed in his attempt to have a civil case, brought against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, thrown out.
Ms Giuffre is suing Prince Andrew after claiming that he sexually abused her when she was 17 years old.
She has claimed that she was sexually assaulted by the late Jeffrey Epstein and recently convicted Ghislaine Maxwell, and also alleged she was forced into sex with Prince Andrew.
She filed a suit against the royal on August 9, citing battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The Prince’s lawyers argued that the case should be thrown out, citing a settlement she agreed with Jeffrey Epstein in 2009.
The settlement, which was unsealed on 3 January, awarded Ms Giuffre $500,000.
Their agreement included a provision which 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.”
Prince Andrew was not mentioned by name in the agreement.
But a New York judge has now dismissed that argument and the prince will be expected to stand trial in America.
Judge Lewis A Kaplan said in his written ruling: “The 2009 agreement cannot be said to demonstrate, clearly and unambiguously, the parties intended the instrument ‘directly,’ ‘primarily,’ or ‘substantially,’ to benefit Prince Andrew.”
“For the foregoing reasons, defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint or for a more definite statement is denied in all respects.
“Given the court’s limited task of ruling on this motion, nothing in this opinion or previously in these proceedings properly may be construed as indicating a view with respect to the truth of the charges or countercharges or as to the intention of the parties in entering into the 2009 Agreement.”
Prince Andrew, who has not been charged with any criminal offences, has consistently denied all of the allegations.
The civil trial is expected to take place between September and December later this year.
Judge Kaplan has previously rejected a request to halt the civil case due to jurisdiction complications, as Giuffre lives in Australia, not the US, where the case is being heard.
Buckingham Palace have declined to comment on the ruling, with a spokesperson saying: “We would not comment on what is an ongoing legal matter.”
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