On Tuesday, attorneys representing UK’s Prince Andrew appeared virtually before a federal Judge in New York, arguing that a lawsuit filed against Andrew by a supposed victim of Jeffrey Epstein should be dismissed. ayokinews.com reports
Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was sexually molested by both Epstein and Prince Andrew when she was 17-years-old, filed a civil action against the prince in August 2021.
Prince Andrew has repeatedly disputed her charges, claiming that he never had sex with Giuffre and requesting that the lawsuit be dismissed on multiple grounds.
On Tuesday, Prince Andrew’s lawyer contended that a recently disclosed 2009 settlement agreement between Giuffre and Epstein, bars her from suing the Duke of York because the royal was a “potential defendant” in the previous litigation.
According to the prince’s lawyer, a “potential defendant” is ‘someone who is not identified as a defendant but could have been’.
“That phrase has to be given meaning,” the Prince’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, said. “Prince Andrew could have been sued in the 2009 Florida action. He was not and therefore was a potential defendant.”
Prince Andrew could not have been a possible defendant in the 2009 complaint, according to Giuffre’s attorney, David Boies, because he was not subject to Florida courts’ jurisdiction and was not the individual accused of trafficking Giuffre for sex.
“There’s no allegation Prince Andrew was the person transporting,” Boies said.
The use of the term “potential” in the 2009 settlement could not be precisely defined, according to Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over the court Tuesday. Epstein committed suicide in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal charges of sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York.
Brettler had one reasonable interpretation of the contract’s wording, according to Kaplan, while Giuffre’s side had a another, equally reasonable one.
“But we don’t have Mr. Epstein here to say what his view was,” Kaplan said. “The use of the word ‘potential’ is the use of a word to which neither you nor I can find any meaning at all.”
Brettler also said that Giuffre’s allegation lacked sufficient information, making it difficult for Prince Andrew to determine exactly what he is accused of doing, when, and where.
“Ms. Giuffre needs to lock herself into a story now. Not sometime in the future after she conducts discovery and learns where the chips may fall,” Brettler said.
But argument was emphatically rejected by Judge Kaplan.
“With all due respect Mr. Brettler, that’s not a dog that’s going to hunt here,” Kaplan said. “I understand your point. It just isn’t the law.”
Kaplan also read a section of Giuffre’s accusation in which she claimed Prince Andrew began having sexual relations with her when she was 17-years-old.
There was no instant decision as of Tuesday. The judge stated that he will rule soon but did not commit to a deadline.
There will be no break in the proceedings as the parties await the outcome. They need to get started on depositions and discovery. The parties stated that they intend to take between 8 and 12 depositions apiece.