Prince Andrew failed to persuade a US judge to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit accusing the Duke of York of sexually abusing her when she was a minor, and of being trafficked by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
In a decision made public Wednesday, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan said Giuffre, 38, was entitled to pursue claims that Andrew had beaten her and intentionally caused her emotional distress.
The judge said it was too early to consider Andrew’s efforts to “cast doubts” on those claims, although the 61-year-old prince could do so in a trial.
Kaplan said it was too early to decide whether Giuffre and Epstein “clearly and unequivocally” intend to release people like Andrew through the 2009 settlement, which would support Giuffre’s lawsuit against the late financier. let’s solve.
Lawyers for Andrew and Giuffre did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trial may start at the end of this year
The decision cleared the way for a trial to remain on track for Giuffre’s case against Andrew, which Kaplan has said could begin later this year.
Although the claims have not been proven and the prince has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing, his relationship with Epstein has damaged his reputation and cost him several royal duties.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment on Kaplan’s decision.
Andrew has denied Giuffre’s allegations that he forced her to have sex at the London home of Epstein’s former aide Ghislaine Maxwell more than two decades ago, and abused her at two other Epstein properties.
Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges at the age of 66 in a Manhattan prison cell in August 2019.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted on December 29 of misconduct between 1994 and 2004 for recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein.
She is seeking a new trial after a jury, including Reuters, told media that she had discussed being a victim of sexual abuse during jury deliberations.
In his 44-page ruling, Kaplan said the “messy” language in Giuffre and Epstein’s 2009 settlement suggested they may have come to “some of the middle ground” to protect Andrew or others from future lawsuits. Huh.
“We don’t know what, if anything, went through the minds of the parties,” Kaplan wrote. “The parties have expressed at least two reasonable interpretations of the critical language. The agreement is therefore unclear.”
Settlement agreements can also prevent plaintiffs from pursuing further litigation against third parties, such as Giuffre. Giuffre was awarded $500,000 in a 2009 settlement.
Kaplan also rejected Andrew’s claim that allowing Giuffre to stand trial violated his due process rights under the New York Constitution.
Giuffre sued Andrew in August, less than a week before a state law lapsed, giving accusers a two-year window to bring claims over alleged child abuse that occurred long ago. .
Kaplan called that window, which was extended by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, “an appropriate measure to address the injustice meted out to victims” of child sexual abuse.