Sunday, January 23, 2022

Judge moves sexual assault trial against Prince Andrew

“Ms Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘vague’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘vague’,” Judge Louise Kaplan wrote in her ruling. “It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse under particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies who it attributes to sexual abuse.”

Giuffre alleged in the lawsuit that the late financier Jeffrey Epstein smuggled her and forced her to have sex with his friends, including Prince, and that Andrew knew she was underage (17) in America at the time. She alleged that Prince sexually assaulted her at Ghislaine Maxwell’s home in London, Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands, and his mansion in Manhattan.

Giuffre brought her case under the Child Victims Act, a New York state law enacted in 2019 that expanded the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases to give survivors more opportunities to seek justice.

Prince Andrew has denied the allegations and has proceeded to dismiss the trial.

Her lawyers argued that her lawsuit violated the terms of a 2009 settlement with Epstein in Florida, in which she agreed to a “general release” of claims against Epstein and others. That settlement, which was released to the public last week, shows that Epstein paid Giuffre $500,000 to drop the case without liability or fault. The prince’s name does not explicitly appear as a party.

However, Giuffre’s lawyer David Bois argued that the settlement was irrelevant to her claim against the prince, noting that Andrew was not aware of it at the time and that it did not apply to him.

In the ruling, Kaplan wrote that both parties had “reasonable interpretations” of the meaning of the agreement.

“The agreement is therefore ambiguous. Accordingly, the determination of the meaning of the language of the release in the 2009 agreement should await further proceedings,” they wrote.

If the case is not settled, Prince Andrew could face a trial date between September and December 2022. The long-running allegations against Andrew, 61, have already dramatically tarnished his public standing, and he stepped down from royal duties at the end of 2019.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, saying “we will not comment on what constitutes a legal matter.”

Epstein, who pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in 2008, was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019. Prosecutors accused him of carrying out a decades-long plan to sexually abuse underage girls, flying them on private planes to his properties in Florida. , New York, New Mexico and the US Virgin Islands. He died by suicide in prison before facing trial.
Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and close aide Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in 2020 and charged with facilitating Epstein’s abuse plan. A federal jury indicted him in December on five federal counts, including sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit a minor.
Giuffre was not one of the four women who testified at Maxwell’s trial that she was abused. Nevertheless, she was mentioned at trial when Carolyn, one of the victims, testified that Giuffre had recruited her to visit Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, Florida.

CNN’s Sonia Moghe, Cara Scannell and Max Foster contributed to this report.


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