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Federal Judge Reject's Prince Andrew's Attempt To Throw Out Virginia Giuffre Lawsuit
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected Prince Andrew's argument that a 2009 settlement between Virginia Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein shielded him from legal action.
A federal judge has rejected Prince Andrew's request to dismiss a lawsuit against him by a woman who alleges he sexually abused her as a teen.
Andrew’s lawyers had attempted to block the lawsuit earlier this month by citing a 2009 legal settlement between Giuffre and the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. In that document, Giuffre had agreed not to sue anyone connected to Epstein who could be described as a "potential defendant," BBC News reported. Prince Andrew’s lawyers tried to argue that the settlement shielded Andrew from the lawsuit as a result. Giuffre, now 38, also received $500,000 in that settlement.
But, Kaplan said that he cannot make a judgment on that settlement at this time.
“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 countercharges or as to the intention of the parties in entering into the 2009 Agreement,” Kaplan stated in this week’s ruling, according to Law&Crime. He added that “it is not open to the Court now to decide, as a matter of fact, just what the parties of the release in the 2009 settlement agreement signed by Ms. Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein actually meant.”
Andrew’s lawyers had previously tried to block the lawsuit, arguing that Giuffre now lives in Australia, not the U.S., according to NBC News. Andrew’s legal team also previously said the case should be thrown out because Giuffre had reached the age of consent during the alleged incidents, which Giuffre says took place in 2001 when she was 17. Kaplan has also recently dismissed claims by Andrew's law team that Giuffre's allegations were too vague.
Giuffre, who has been vocal for years about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, filed a federal civil lawsuit against the Royal in August, alleging he sexually abused her during meetings arranged by Epstein and Maxwell. Prince Andrew has denied the allegation.
"Ms. Giuffre is, of course, pleased that Prince Andrew's motion to avoid a trial has been denied, and that the evidence will now be taken concerning her claims," David Boies, one of Giuffre's lawyers, told NBC News this week. "She looks forward to a judicial determination of the merits of those claims.”
Epstein was found hanged in his jail cell in August 2019 at age 66 — one month after he was arrested on federal sex trafficking charges. He was previously convicted in Florida of sex crimes. Maxwell, 60, was convicted last month on five federal charges related to transporting minors to engage in criminal sexual activity and sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion.