It was just over one month ago that the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, was named as the defendant in a civil lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse and infliction of emotional distress. And today, a pre-trial hearing took place at which lawyers acting for the Prince and his accuser, Virginia Guiffre, appeared on a call before a New York district judge.
Judge Lewis Kaplan asked for an update on the issue of serving Prince Andrew with the papers after which a discussion ensued about whether or not they had been served. Virginia Guiffre’s attorney, David Boies, said that the complaint had been sent to Prince Andrew’s lawyers and also delivered to his last known address. However, the Prince’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, told the court that he believes the Duke “has not been properly served” and described the lawsuit as “baseless, non-viable and potentially unlawful.” Judge Kaplan interrupted and said he wanted to confine the discussion to the issue of service. The judge said that Boies had the week to make requests to organize an additional form service of the papers. But he made it clear that he expected service to be authorized and the case to proceed to the next stage. The case will next be heard on October 13.
Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied the allegations made by Virginia Guiffre, who claims that he abused her when she was a teenager and being trafficked his former friend Jeffrey Epstein. The Prince told the BBC in the 2019 interview that led to him stepping back from royal duties that he has “no recollection of ever meeting this lady.” Brettler is reported to have been recently instructed by the Prince and was revealed to be taking part in the hearing just a few hours before it was due to begin.
Court papers have claimed that Virginia Roberts Guiffre was sexually abused by Prince Andrew on “separate occasions when she was under the age of 18 years old,” in Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home, Epstein’s New York Mansion, and on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The documents also accuse Andrew of not co-operating with U.S. authorities investigating Epstein or with lawyers for the victims bringing civil cases against Epstein’s estate. The case was brought days before the expiration of New York’s Child Victims Act, which allows alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil claims that might otherwise not be possible.
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