Lawyers for British Prince Andrew will urge American justice on Tuesday to dismiss a civil complaint for “sexual assault” that an American filed in New York for facts dating back to 2001 when she was a minor.
A crucial hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. GMT (2 p.m. in France) by videoconference between a judge of the Manhattan federal court, lawyers for Queen Elizabeth’s second son and those of the accuser and alleged victim of Andrew, Virginia Giuffre, 38 years old.
In her civil complaint filed in August, Ms Giuffre claims the prince ‘sexually assaulted’ her three times in 2001 – when she was 17 and her name was Virginia Roberts – in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands , residences of friends of Andrew, the couple formed at the time by the American multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
Epstein, a sexual predator of underage girls and a figure in the international jet set, committed suicide in prison in Manhattan in August 2019, at age 66, before his trial for sex crimes. His companion and accomplice for three decades, Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, has been in prison since the summer of 2020, was found guilty last week in New York of sex trafficking of adolescents for the benefit of Epstein and incurs dozens of years of imprisonment.
His lawyers are trying by all means to block this complaint
Virginia Giuffre, who was not a plaintiff in the Maxwell trial, welcomed the judgment and said she hoped others “will be held to account”, referring to Andrew. The prince’s lawyers have been doing everything for six months to block the complaint of Ms. Giuffre – who seeks financial compensation – and should plead before the judge that it is legally “unfounded”.
The prince, 61, who is not being prosecuted, “categorically” denies having attacked Virginia Roberts at the time and even claims not to remember this young girl. At the civil level, his lawyers believe he could escape justice thanks to an agreement sealed in 2009 between Epstein and Virginia Giuffre, who was also an alleged victim of the financier.
On Monday, New York judges made public the previously confidential settlement under which Ms. Giuffre had received $ 500,000 from Epstein. And according to this transaction signed in Florida 12 years ago, Virginia Giuffre undertook not to prosecute Epstein, nor “other potential defendants” in his entourage.
The Duke of York’s name or royal title is not mentioned in this contractual document but Andrew’s defense believes that it protects Epstein and all his relatives, and therefore the prince. On the contrary, Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers retort that Andrew is not “covered” by this agreement which “does not quote him” and of which “he was not even aware” in 2009.
A potential civil trial between September and December 2022
In addition, the Manhattan judge has already rejected on December 31 another nullity request formulated by Andrew, on the grounds that Ms. Giuffre could not file a complaint in the United States because she “resides” in Australia. If all the prince’s appeals fail, a civil trial could be held “between September and December” 2022, the New York judge said this fall.
Finally, Ms. Giuffre’s lawyers ask the prince to produce a medical certificate attesting that his body does not sweat, that it is never “sweaty”. Indeed, in his last interview with the BBC in November 2019, deemed calamitous, he had denied having danced “in a sweat” with Virginia Giuffre in a nightclub in London more than 20 years ago, as she had recounted. . The prince would suffer from an impossibility of “sweating” since the Falklands War in 1982, when his body would have secreted too much adrenaline.
Widely distributed, a number of photos attest to the proximity between Andrew, Epstein, Maxwell and Giuffre. In particular a snapshot from 2000 showing the American financier, the British socialite and the prince on a hunting trip in the east of England. Another photo shows Andrew and Giuffre holding each other at the waist, all smiles, with Maxwell in the background.
For more than two years, the Maxwell-Epstein sex scandal has plunged him into turmoil and forced him to retire from public life.