Prince Andrew to urge US judge to dismiss sex abuse case
New York (AFP) – Prince Andrew's lawyers will use a court hearing Tuesday to urge a New York judge to throw out a sexual assault lawsuit brought against the British royal in the United States.
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His attorneys are expected to argue that a once-confidential settlement between accuser Virginia Giuffre and late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein unveiled on Monday protects Andrew from litigation.
The hearing, to be held between the parties' representatives via video conference with press and public able to listen in by telephone, starts at 10:00 am (1500 GMT).
Giuffre alleges that Epstein lent her out for sex with his wealthy and powerful associates, including Andrew, an allegation the prince has repeatedly and strenuously denied.
A deal made public for the first time Monday by a New York court shows that Giuffre agreed to drop a civil case against Epstein for $500,000 in Florida in 2009.
The settlement contained a provision that purports to protect "other potential defendants" from being sued related to alleged sexual abuse committed by Epstein, who killed himself in jail two and a half years ago.
Lawyers for Queen Elizabeth II's second son will cite the agreement during Tuesday's oral arguments when they will urge judge Lewis Kaplan to dismiss Giuffre's lawsuit against the prince.
Her attorneys have indicated they will argue that the settlement is "irrelevant" to her civil action against Andrew and that the case must continue.
Giuffre sued the prince for unspecified damages last year, alleging he sexually assaulted her in 2001 when she was 17 and a minor under American law.
The 61-year-old Andrew has not been criminally charged.
Giuffre says Andrew assaulted her at Epstein's home in New York, and on his private island in the US Virgin Islands.
She alleges he also sexually abused her at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, who was last week found guilty of sex trafficking minors for Epstein.
Maxwell, who introduced Andrew to Epstein in the early 1990s, faces life behind bars after being convicted by New York jurors of five of the six counts she faced following a high-profile month-long trial.
Epstein died aged 66 in a Manhattan jail in 2019, in what New York's coroner ruled was a suicide, after being charged with child sex trafficking charges.
He was convicted in 2008 of paying young girls for sexual massages at his Florida mansion but served just 13 months in jail after striking a deal with the state prosecutor at the time.
Andrew has rarely been seen in public since he was forced to quit the royal frontline in 2019 for failing to distance himself from Epstein.
In a disastrous interview with the BBC that year, Andrew denied Giuffre's claim that they had shared a sweaty dance at a London nightclub, saying that at the time he could not sweat due to a condition related to having fought in the 1982 Falklands War.
Last week, Giuffre's lawyers demanded that Andrew hand over medical records proving that he is unable to sweat.
Andrew's legal team has accused Giuffre of seeking to profit from a "baseless lawsuit."
On Friday, Kaplan rejected their attempts to halt progression of the suit on the grounds that Giuffre now lives in Australia.
© 2022 AFP