US judge skeptical of Prince Andrew’s efforts to dismiss sexual assault prosecutor’s lawsuit

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© Reuters. British Prince Andrew, Duke of York, watches the funeral of British Prince Philip, wife of Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 99, at Windsor Castle in Windsor, UK, April 17, 2021. Chris Jackson / Pool via RE

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Tuesday appeared skeptical of British Prince Andrew’s intention to dismiss Virginia Giuffra’s lawsuit accusing the Duke of York of sexually abusing her when she was 17 and trafficked by late financier Jeffrey Epstein. .

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan is evaluating a November 2009 settlement agreement in Florida between Epstein and Giuffre, which the 61-year-old prince’s attorneys said protects Protect Andrew from 38-year-old Giuffre’s claims.

Andrew Brettler, the prince’s lawyer, claimed that Queen Elizabeth’s second son was among the “potential defendants” that Giuffre acquitted when she accepted $ 500,000 to settle with Epstein.

“A‘ potential defendant ’is someone who could have been named a defendant in that lawsuit, but wasn’t,” Brettler said during a hearing before a judge. “I think it’s unquestionable that Prince Andrew could have been sued in action in Florida in 2009.”

But the judge said the “real question” was what Giuffre and Epstein intended to make a settlement.

“We are discussing whether there are two or more reasonable interpretations,” Kaplan told Brettler. “I understand your point of view. I understand another point of view.”

Kaplan said he would rule “soon”.

Andrew has denied Giuffre’s allegations that he forced her to have sex at the London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and that he abused her on two other Epstein estates. The prince has not been charged with a felony.

Epstein killed himself at the age of 66 in a prison cell in Manhattan in August 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted Dec. 29 of recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein for abuse between 1994 and 2004. Giuffre’s charges were not part of the case, and she did not testify.

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