Royal family refuses to discuss Prince Andrew sex abuse lawsuit
Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on a US court ruling allowing Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault lawsuit against Prince Andrew to go ahead. Unless settled, the lawsuit could see members of the royal family testify.
“We would not comment on what is an ongoing legal matter,” a palace spokesperson told several media outlets on Wednesday, after US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan cleared Giuffre to proceed with her lawsuit against the Duke of York.
Giuffre claims that she was trafficked to the prince for sex by the now-deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his recently-convicted girlfriend and ‘madam’, Ghislaine Maxwell. However, Giuffre’s civil case against Andrew risked being thrown out of court when the prince’s lawyers argued that it violated a 2009 settlement reached between Giuffre and Epstein, in which she agreed not to sue anyone who could be a “potential defendant” against the notorious child molester.
Kaplan sided with Giuffre’s legal team, who argued that the settlement existed to protect Epstein and as such did not cover a “third party” like Andrew.
Kaplan’s ruling paves the way for a lengthy period of discovery and deposition, in which other members of Britain’s royal family may be summoned to testify.
Prince Andrew denies sexually assaulting Giuffre, who was 17 when the alleged abuse occurred. He has also denied ever meeting his accuser, despite being photographed with his arm around her in London at the time she claimed she was trafficked to him.
The Duke of York insists that Giuffre is seeking a “payday” from him. Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, stated on Wednesday that his client "looks forward to a judicial determination of the merits of those claims” against the prince.