Prince Andrew case: Will he face trial over Virginia Giuffre’s claims of sex abuse?

·3 min read
 The Duke of York with his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre when she was around 17-years-old (Virginia Roberts Giuffre)
The Duke of York with his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre when she was around 17-years-old (Virginia Roberts Giuffre)

A federal judge in New York threw out a request by Prince Andrew to dismiss a civil lawsuit accusing him of having sex with a 17-year-old girl who was being sex-trafficked by late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, in a bombshell ruling that paves the way for the case to go to trial.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on 12 January that the lawsuit brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre can move forward to trial.

Ms Giuffre has accused the Prince Andrew of having sex with her when she was 17.

She claimed that convicted sex abusers Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell trafficked her to powerful men for sex including the prince.

Prince Andrew denies the allegations and has not been criminally charged.

A now-infamous photo reveals Prince Andrew, Maxwell and Ms Giuffre in Maxwell’s London townhouse as a teenager. The prince has his arm around the teenager’s waist.

In late December, Maxwell was found guilty of sex trafficking at her high-profile trial in New York.

Epstein died in his prison cell in 2019 while also awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Ms Giuffre filed the civil lawsuit against Prince Andrew in August.

The suit stalled in the courts as Prince Andrew’s legal team sought to dismiss it because of a $500,000 settlement the accuser reached with Epstein in 2009.

The terms of the settlement were that Epstein and his associates would be protected from any future legal liability – something Prince Andrew claimed protected him.

But Judge Kaplan has since determined that the case can proceed to trial.

Here’s what could happen next.

When will the trial begin?

Judge Kaplan has given a timeframe of between September and December 2022 for the trial to commence.

According to the judge’s scheduling order, both parties must disclose expert witnesses by 13 May and rebuttal witnesses one month later.

Discovery of evidence must be completed by 14 July and a joint pretrial proposal filed by 28 July, outlining whether the parties wish to proceed to a jury trial.

However, proceedings could be held up with delays.

Could Prince Andrew appeal the judge’s ruling?

Firstly, Prince Andrew could file an appeal against the 12 January decision – either in the form of a motion of reconsideration or by appealing straight to the second circuit court of appeals.

He could also ask the US Supreme Court to hear the case.

An appeal would likely delay proceedings.

Will Prince Andrew be called to testify under oath?

He could be.

The discovery of evidence in a case can include depositions, interviews under oath and parties being subpoenaed to hand over documents.

Could a settlement be reached?

Both sides could agree to reach a settlement out of court, which would prevent the case being aired in court.

Sources told The Daily Telegraph recently that the prince has not ruled out reaching a settlement in order to protect the reputation of the royal family.

What has Buckingham Palace said?

Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on the development.

“We would not comment on what is an ongoing legal matter,” a palace spokesperson told The Independent.

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