Prince Andrew accepts US service of Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault lawsuit

The prince, who denies Giuffre’s claims, has until October 29th to respond to suit

Virginia Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of forcing her to have sex around two decades ago, when she was underage. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Virginia Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of forcing her to have sex around two decades ago, when she was underage. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

 

Britain’s Prince Andrew has accepted service in the United States of a sexual assault lawsuit by a woman who said the Duke of York forced her to have sex with him at the London home of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The prince and his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, have agreed that service was effective as of September 21st, according to a joint filing on Friday with the US district court in Manhattan.

The prince has until October 29th to formally respond to the lawsuit, and has not waived his defences against Ms Giuffre’s claims, which he has denied. A previously scheduled October 13th court hearing has been cancelled.

The agreement appears for now to end a monthlong effort by Andrew’s legal team, including lawyers in Britain, to block Giuffre’s lawsuit at the outset rather than have the 61-year-old defend against it.

Ms Giuffre (38) accused Queen Elizabeth’s second son of forcing her to have sex around two decades ago, when she was underage, at the London home of Epstein’s longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell.

She also said the prince abused her at around the same time at Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.

The prince has not been charged with crimes.

His lawyers are seeking to review a 2009 settlement agreement from a lawsuit against Epstein in Florida, to determine whether it requires a dismissal of Ms Giuffre’s August 9th lawsuit. Ms Giuffre is seeking unspecified damages.

Epstein, a registered sex offender, also had a home in Florida. He killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Ms Giuffre sued the prince under a 2019 New York law that gave survivors of childhood sexual abuse a since-closed two-year window to sue their alleged abusers over conduct occurring many years or decades earlier.

Ms Maxwell faces a scheduled November 29th trial in Manhattan on charges she helped recruit and groom underage girls for Epstein to abuse. She has pleaded not guilty. – Reuters