Prince Andrew plans to challenge a US court’s jurisdiction over Virginia Giuffre’s civil lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting her, according to court documents.
Ms Giuffre is suing the Queen’s son for allegedly abusing her when she was a teenager, and the first pre-trial hearing in the civil proceedings will be held in the US later on Monday.
She claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the duke, when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
Andrew has vehemently denied all the allegations.
In papers filed with the US District Court in Manhattan, a lawyer for the Duke of York said he plans to argue that he was not properly served with the lawsuit.
Ms Giuffre’s legal team stated in documents submitted on Friday that there was a first attempt to serve the papers on the duke on August 26, when an agent went to Windsor Great Park.
They go on to state that a Metropolitan Police officer, who was the head of security, told the agent officers were not able to accept service of any court process, or let anyone trying to serve legal papers on to the property.
The agent returned the next day and was told the court process could be left with the police officer at the main gate ‘and that this matter would then be forwarded on to the legal team’.
But Blackfords, a law firm that represents the prince ‘in certain UK matters’, has questioned whether they were properly served.
A legal expert has suggested the case could take years to reach a conclusion.
David Greene, a senior partner with law firm Edwin Coe, said about the final trial: ‘I’d been surprised if it took place next year and I’d been surprised if it took place the year after, 2023.
‘It’s a highly complex issue and I think it will take quite some time to come in front of the court.’
Andrew does not face the prospect of an extradition hearing as this only applies to criminal charges and not civil cases.
The duke has stepped back from public duties amid the fallout from his relationship with Epstein.
It came after a 2019 Newsnight interview which saw him attempt to draw a line under his relationship with Epstein, who died in prison two years ago, but it ended up being dubbed a ‘car crash’.
During the programme he denied claims that he slept with Ms Giuffre on three separate occasions, saying: ‘I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.
‘I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.’
According to The Daily Mail, he was last seen arriving at the Queen’s Scottish retreat of Balmoral Castle in August and was thought to have been accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York.
Lawyers for Ms Giuffre filed the civil suit against the duke citing allegations of battery by sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
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