Prince Andrew: Lawyers attempt to take case out of court
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For the second attempt to get the case thrown out of court, lawyers for the Duke of York, 61, have filed a motion challenging the residency status of his accuser. Virginia Giuffre, 38, claims that Andrew sexually abused her after she was forced to sleep with him by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The Duke of York has categorically denied her claims.
Virginia Giuffre, previously Virginia Roberts, is seeking unspecified damages from the royal, alleging he sexually abused her on three separate occasions in 2001 when she was 17.
She has brought the case against Andrew by using the New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA).
CVA allows those abused to sue their attackers until they turn 55 years old.
Andrew’s legal team, led by US-based lawyer Andrew Brettler, filed a motion to dismiss on Tuesday to challenge the jurisdiction of the New York court, arguing that Ms Giuffre is not a US citizen as she has claimed.
The lawyers allege that “recently discovered evidence” has come to light that casts doubt on her claim to be a resident of Colorado.
Their motion says instead, that she lives with her husband and three children in Perth, Australia, and has lived in Australia for all but two of the past 19 years.
They allege that as a result, the New York court does not have jurisdiction over the case and therefore her complaint is invalid.
The Telegraph reports that federal court rules do not allow both parties to an action to be foreign citizens.
As a result, Andrew’s lawyers have asked Judge Lewis Kaplan to halt proceedings while they investigate Ms Giuffre’s residency status.
His team have asked for the discovery process, which could involve members of the Royal family being subpoenaed to testify, to be put on hold while written and oral evidence is taken from Ms Giuffre.
The motion adds: “It is undisputed that, at the time she filed this action, Ms. Giuffre had an Australian driver’s license and was living in a AU$1.9 million home in Perth, Western Australia, where she and her husband have been raising their three children.
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“In reality, Ms. Giuffre’s ties to Colorado are very limited.
“She has not lived there since at least 2019 – approximately two years before she filed this lawsuit against Prince Andrew – and potentially, according to her own deposition testimony, not since October 2015.”
The motion also claims that Ms Giuffre only recently registered to vote in the state of Colorado and that she had used her mother and stepfather’s mailing address to do so.
The motion describes the timing of the act as “suspicious”, claiming that it appeared to be a “calculated move”.
It adds that the move would support her “specious claim of citizenship in Colorado despite having moved to Australia at least a year (if not four years) earlier”.
This marks the second attempt made by the legal team to have the civil case against him dropped.
In an 11-page document filed by the Duke’s legal team previously, they called for Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit to be dismissed, calling it “unintelligible” and “vague”.
His lawyers also argued that the prince is prevented from being sued under a 2009 financial deal Giuffre made with Jeffrey Epstein.
The deal barred Ms Giuffre from pursuing the financier’s associates.
Judge Kaplan is due to hear arguments on the Duke’s first motion to dismiss the case on January 4.
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