Prince Andrew: Judge declares Guiffre case will go ahead
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In December 2021, Prince Andrew’s former friend Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of sex-trafficking underage girls to be subjected to abuse by the late disgraced billionaire paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein. One of the women who claim to have been abused by Mr Epstein and his associates is Virginia Roberts – now Giuffre – who has now brought a civil case against Prince Andrew in the US. The Duke of York has denied all allegations.
What has Prince Andrew been accused of?
In August 2021, Virginia Giuffre filed a civil case in New York under the remit of the Child Victims Act in the state.
Ms Giuffre has brought a case of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Prince Andrew.
She is claiming she was trafficked by Mr Epstein and others to Prince Andrew, and it is alleged the Prince sexually abused her when she was under the age of 18 – making Ms Giuffre a minor under US law at the time of the alleged abuses.
In fact, there are four separate occasions in which Ms Giuffre accuses Prince Andrew of sexual misconduct were referenced by the judge.
Ms Giuffre has alleged that one occasion saw the pair party at Tramp nightclub in London in March 2001, before having sex at Maxwell’s Belgravia house.
However, in an interview with the BBC in October 2019, Prince Andrew said he could not have had sex with Ms Giuffre at Ms Maxwell’s home as he had been to a children’s party and returned home that night.
The prince said: “I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose four or five in the afternoon. And then because the duchess [Sarah Ferguson] was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away the other is there.”
Allegations have also been made that Ms Giuffre was abused by the Prince during a visit to Mr Epstein’s Manhatten home, and on another occasion while visiting Little St James, Mr Epstein’s private island.
Miss Giuffre has also alleged Andrew abused her on another occasion at Mr Epstein’s mansion in Manhatten.
Prince Andrew has vehemently denied all the allegations. But US Judge Lewis A Kaplan has now ruled the case can proceed after lawyers for Andrew argued the case should be dismissed, having suggested Ms Giuffre waived her right to pursue a case for Andrew under a settlement reached with the late Jeffrey Epstein.
In the conclusion of his written ruling, Judge Kaplan said: “For the foregoing reasons, defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint or for a more definite statement is denied in all respects.
“Given the court’s limited task of ruling on this motion, nothing in this opinion or previously in these proceedings properly may be construed as indicating a view with respect to the truth of the charges or counter-charges or as to the intention of the parties in entering into the 2009 Agreement.”
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Could Prince Andrew pay damages to Ms Giuffre?
If Prince Andrew wishes to appeal the ruling made by Judge Lewis Kaplan, he can appeal through a “motion for reconsideration” or by sending the case to the second circuit court of appeals.
The Prince has options open to him including going to trial or settling with Ms Giuffre, which would negate the requirement of a trial at a later date.
The case against Andrew is a civil case.
So if the case goes to trial, and Ms Giuffre wins, the Prince could be required to pay significant damages to Ms Giuffre.
Alternatively, Ms Giuffre and Prince Andrew could reach a settlement agreement.
Those involved with the trial will need to confirm by July 28 whether the case will proceed to trial.
If the case goes to trial, it could take place between September and December 2022.
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