Prince Andrew asks for US jury trial in Giuffre lawsuit

Duke of York denies being a ‘co-conspirator’ of Jeffrey Epstein in court filing

Britain’s Prince Andrew has denied accusations of sexual abuse. File photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Britain’s Prince Andrew has denied accusations of sexual abuse. File photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

 

Britain’s Prince Andrew on Wednesday asked for a US jury trial as he again denied Virginia Giuffre’s accusations that he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17.

Giuffre (38) sued the Duke of York in a Manhattan court last August, alleging he battered her while the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.

In a filing with the US district court in Manhattan in the case on Wednesday, Andrew (61) admitted to meeting Epstein in or about 1999, but denied Ms Giuffre’s claim that he “committed sexual assault and battery” upon her. He also denied “that he was a co-conspirator of Epstein or that Epstein trafficked girls to him”.

David Boies, a lawyer for Ms Giuffre, said in a statement that Andrew was trying to “blame the victim”.

“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms Giuffre for her own abuse,” Mr Boies said.

Prince Andrew’s ties to Epstein, who took his own life in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges, have undermined his reputation with the public and standing in Britain’s royal family.

Earlier this month, the family removed the prince’s military links and military patronages, and said the second son of Queen Elizabeth would no longer be known as “his royal highness”.

Prince Andrew’s filing was an “answer”, a common document in US litigation in which defendants deny or say they lack enough information to comment on plaintiffs’ substantive accusations.

The prince’s lawyers had previously called Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit “baseless” and accused her of seeking another payday.

Ms Giuffre received $500,000 in a 2009 civil settlement with Epstein.

US district judge Lewis Kaplan has said a trial could begin between September and December 2022.

If Ms Giuffre won at trial, Prince Andrew could owe her damages. She has asked for an unspecified amount in damages.

Andrew has not been criminally charged, and no criminal charges can be brought in Ms Giuffre’s civil lawsuit.

Mr Justice Kaplan this month denied Prince Andrew’s earlier request to dismiss Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit, which the prince said he was shielded from under the terms of the 2009 Epstein settlement.

Prince Andrew renewed that argument in Wednesday’s filing, and also said Ms Giuffre lacks legal standing to sue because she lives in Australia. – Reuters/Bloomberg