Prince Andrew controversy could linger for ‘five years’ amid legal battle

Prince Andrew 'faces strong penalty' over case says host

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A royal source claimed last week that Prince Andrew is “hiding” at his Windsor house, Royal Lodge, as officials try to hand him court documents. The source told The Sun Andrew’s guards had stopped “multiple attempts” by lawyers to issue documents to the Duke of York. They added that “there’s no way he will risk poking his head outside right now. He will stay out of view”. A spokesman for the Duke did not wish to comment on the claims.

This comes after Ms Giuffre filed a civil case in New York claiming Andrew abused her.

Ms Giuffre alleges that she was sexually assaulted at the London home of Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, at Epstein’s homes in Manhattan, and at Little St James in the US Virgin Islands.

Andrew has vehemently denied the allegations of sexual assault, and a spokeswoman for the Duke said last month said they had “no comment” on the case.

On the Pod Save The Queen podcast, royal editor for The Mirror, Russell Myers, explained why the legal wrangling could go on for years.

He said that Ms Giuffre’s lawyers will have to issue a request for an extension in order to serve the papers to Andrew.

Mr Myers said: “The layman’s understanding that has come out in the days after the lawsuit is that Andrew had 21 days to respond to the claim.

“But he actually has to be served these papers in person. He was staying at Balmoral, and that posed certain problems for the lawyers to serve these papers.

“And then it was reported that he has moved back to his Windsor House, Royal Lodge, and still the lawyers can’t serve these papers unfortunately.

“David Boies, who is Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer, certainly has something to say about it. He has publicly come out and said there has been this level of non-cooperation that they are not too happy about.

“The situation is, if these papers do not get served by September 13th there is a listing for a court date in New York, and that will involve Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers going back and explaining to the judge that they haven’t been able to serve these papers.

“No doubt they will ask for an extension, and that would then take them up to a further 60 days.”

However, the royal expert explained that it could be years before an outcome from the lawsuit is reached.

He added: “But if you speak to legal experts in the know, which we have done, they will tell you this will likely go on for quite some time. Certainly not 60 days, nearly 60 months some are saying. It could go on for five years.

“The issue really is how Andrew wants to deal with this. My understanding is that he is locked in talks with his legal team and with the Queen no doubt. Still we have had no response.”

Last week, it was reported that the US is putting pressure on the UK to make Andrew cooperate with investigators.

Officials from President Joe Biden’s government reaffirmed the US and UK’s “close relationship” when it comes to offering “legal assistance”, MailOnline reported.

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Prosecutors last year sent the British government a formal request, known as a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) submission, asking for access to the prince so they could talk to him.

The MLAT is a procedure used in criminal investigations to gather material from foreign countries which cannot readily be obtained on a cooperative basis.

Prosecutors want to speak to Andrew as a potential witness in the Jeffrey Epstein case, including regarding Ghislaine Maxwell’s charges of enticement of minors and sex trafficking of underage girls.

They claimed in August that Andrew had “sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate” while declining requests from investigators.

In July last year, the Duke of York said he was “bewildered” by US justice officials’ claims that he has not offered to cooperate with their investigation into Epstein.

Andrew has previously claimed to have reached out to the Department of Justice in the US three times in order to assist with the investigation.

When approached for a response, Prince Andrew declined to comment.

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