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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Prince Andrew accuser unlikely to accept money settlement alone, says lawyer


A lawyer for the woman accusing the Duke of York of sexually assaulting her at 17 says a money settlement alone will not be enough for his client.

Prince Andrew faces a civil case in the US after Virginia Giuffre sued him, claiming he abused her in 2001. He has consistently denied the claims.

A judge has ruled the case can continue after Prince Andrew tried to have it dismissed.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, told the BBC that she wants to be vindicated.

Prince Andrew’s lawyers cited a 2009 agreement Ms Giuffre signed with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as grounds for dismissing the case, claiming she had waived her right to sue the royal.

However, Judge Lewis A Kaplan stated that the case could proceed, noting that this decision did not determine the “truth or falsity” of Ms Giuffre’s complaint. The case against Prince Andrew, 61, is now expected to be heard in court later this year.

Mr. Boies told BBC Newsnight that the ruling was “an important step” toward a trial.

“I think it’s very important to Virginia Giuffre that this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and the other victims,” he said. “I don’t believe she has a firm opinion on what a solution should be.” But I believe what will be important is that this resolution vindicates her and the claim she has made.”

Ms Giuffre claimed in court documents that she was a victim of sex trafficking and abuse at the hands of late billionaire financier Epstein.

She claims that being lent out to other powerful men was part of her abuse.

Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit alleges she suffered “significant emotional and psychological distress”

In a 2019 interview with BBC Newsnight, Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son, stated that he had no recollection of ever meeting Virginia Giuffre and that her account of them having sex in the US and UK “didn’t happen.”

When asked if Ms Giuffre would be open to an out-of-court settlement, her lawyer said he didn’t want to “pre-judge that,” adding that “no suggestion of settlement discussions has been made at this point.”

“I don’t think she’s interested in a purely financial settlement,” he said.

Ms Giuffre filed a civil case in New York in August 2021 under the state’s Child Victims Act, which allows survivors of childhood sexual abuse to pursue a case that would otherwise be barred due to the passage of too much time.

She is now 38 years old, and she claims that the three alleged incidents of abuse by Prince Andrew continue to cause her “significant emotional and psychological distress and harm.”

On Thursday, a letter signed by more than 150 Royal Navy, RAF, and Army veterans was released, requesting that the Queen strip Prince Andrew of his ranks and titles in the British armed forces.

“Were this any other senior military officer, it is inconceivable that he would still be in post,” they wrote in a joint letter released by the anti-monarchy pressure group Republic.

Prince Andrew’s lawyers could potentially launch an appeal against Judge Kaplan’s decision

Prince Andrew stepped down from public life soon after his appearance on Newsnight in 2019.

He used the interview to reiterate his denials of Ms Giuffre’s claims and explain his one-time friendship with Epstein and the late financier’s girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell.

One of Ms Giuffre’s allegations is that Prince Andrew abused her at the London home of Maxwell, who in December was convicted by a jury in New York of procuring teenage girls for Epstein.

Prince Andrew’s lawyers could potentially launch an appeal against Judge Kaplan’s decision – although they would need his permission to do so, and legal commentators say the wording of his decision suggests it would not be granted.

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