NEW YORK (AP). The 2008 settlement, which Prince Andrew’s lawyer said would protect him from claims he raped an American woman when she was 17, may remain a secret, a New York judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled in a brief ruling issued the day after attorney Andrew asked to leave the document sealed when he presented arguments explaining why he believed the judge should dismiss the claim.… Lawyer Andrew Brettler said he would like to attach a copy of the agreement to the arguments.
In an August lawsuit, Virginia Giuffre claims the prince verbally abused her in 2001. Andrew said he never had sex with her.
Brettler, who called the lawsuit “unfounded, “Said that neither the Prince nor Giuffre is arguing that the release agreement should remain sealed, but they requested that it remain secret because it is subject to a protective order from another judge presiding over a federal civil lawsuit in New York.
A settlement was reached between Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead at the age of 66 in his cell in 2019 awaiting trial on a sex trafficking case in a New York federal prison. His death was ruled a suicide.
In his ruling on Wednesday, Kaplan noted that Jeffrey Epstein’s estate also does not argue that the settlement should remain closed.
Kaplan appears to have urged the parties to ask the judge in another case – Loretta A. Presca – to agree that the document can be printed, stating that Presca “may well approve the application … authorizing the public disclosure of the Settlement. Agreement.”
“But she has to say that,” he wrote, ruling that the agreement could be signed and will remain so unless Presca and Kaplan decide otherwise.
In his filing on Tuesday, Brettler said the agreement “exempts Prince Andrew and others from any alleged liability arising from the claims Ms Giuffre has brought against Prince Andrew.”
A hearing on Prince Andrew’s suit is scheduled for next week.
The Associated Press does not usually identify people who claim to be victims of sexual assault, unless they choose to speak publicly, as Giuffre did.