Prince Andrew faces deadline to respond to sex assault lawsuit

Prince Andrew case brings ‘sympathy’ for Queen says expert

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The Duke of York, 61, was served with court papers last month by Virginia Giuffre who claims he sexually abused her on multiple occasions in 2001 when she was a minor according to US law. The 38-year-old is seeking unspecified damages from Prince Andrew, and there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.

The Duke of York has always strenuously denied her allegations and told a BBC Newsnight interview in 2019 that he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her.

This is despite there being a photo appearing to show the two of them together, reportedly having been taken in Ghislaine Maxwell’s home in Belgravia in 2001.

The Prince must respond to the claims made by Ms Giuffre by the end of the month or he will face a default judgment.

There is an additional hearing at a court in Manhattan due to be held on November 3.

The prince’s US legal team, headed by Andrew Brettler, is intending to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, according to a letter filed earlier this week.

In a hearing of the case last month, Mr Brettler said the lawsuit was “baseless, non-viable and potentially unlawful”.

It comes after it emerged earlier this week that the Duke’s lawyers are hoping to keep his accuser’s 2009 deal with Jeffrey Epstein secret.

The prince’s California-based attorney wants the agreement which Virginia Giuffre signed with the paedophile billionaire to remain sealed.

The request was made in court papers to New York US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

On Wednesday, the judge backed Mr Brettler’s request and ruled the settlement agreement should not be opened.

Financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial at a New York federal jail.

His death was ruled a suicide.

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Mr Brettler had previously said the agreement “releases Prince Andrew and others from any purported liability arising from the claims Ms. Giuffre asserted against Prince Andrew here”.

He officially issued the request to keep the agreement sealed to the Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.

Prince Andrew was spotted at Windsor in the UK yesterday amid this latest development in his case.

Previous disputes in the case saw queries being raised whether the Prince had officially been served with the lawsuit.

After it was confirmed the papers were served on 21 September, Andrew was provided until today to provide a response.

Ms Giuffre alleges that she was forced to have sex with Andrew at three locations including Epstein’s Manhattan and his private Caribbean island.

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Police said it was taking no action over Ms Giuffre’s claims.

Officers had conducted two reviews of recent material into claims, but following these reviews, they decided to drop their investigation.

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