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A California attorney representing Prince Andrew vowed to contest a civil claim brought forth by a woman accusing the British royal of sexually assaulting her when she was underage.
Andrew B. Brettley indicated his intention to represent the Duke of York hours ahead of a scheduled pretrial teleconference hearing in the Southern District of New York on Monday, according to newly filed court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
The Los Angeles-based lawyer filed notice of his special appearance “for the purpose of contesting purported service of process and challenging jurisdiction” regarding the sexual assault civil case brought forth by Virginia Giuffre against the disgraced prince.
The civil complaint alleges that Giuffre was “forced to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will,” on three separate occasions in 2001 at the behest of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
She’s seeking “substantial damages” for “extreme emotional distress, humiliation, fear, psychological trauma, loss of dignity and self-esteem, and invasion of her privacy.”
“Prince Andrew’s actions constitute sexual offenses,” the complaint states.
Giuffre, who claims she was sex-trafficked across the globe by Epstein, was 17 at the time. She maintains she was twice assaulted by Prince Andrew at Epstein’s New York mansion, on his private Caribbean island, and at co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell’s London apartment.
A private investigator representing Giuffre served Prince Andrew with the civil lawsuit on Aug. 27, a separate court affidavit filed last week shows. The documents were left with a police officer guarding the gates of the Royal Lodge.
Prince Andrew's attorneys, however, who insist the legal documents were not delivered through the proper diplomatic channels, are now attempting to have the case tossed out on legal technicalities.
“Boies Schiller Flexner LLP have made several public, indeed well-publicised,attempts at irregular service of these proceedings in this jurisdiction, in at least one
case accompanied by a media representative,” Gary Bloxsome, a London-based attorney representing Prince Andrew wrote in a Sept. 6 letter to Barbara Fontaine, Senior Master of the Queen’s Bench Division.
The London attorney, disputing the legality of the private process server used by Giuffre’s Manhattan-based law firm, claimed the lawsuit was improperly filed, according to international law, and therefore, moot.
Citing the Hague Service Convention of 1965, a multilateral treaty governing the servicing of civil court documents abroad, Giuffre’s legal team erred by not sending an appointed court official to serve the Duke of York. The prince’s lawyer described such legal tactics as “regrettable” and “potentially defective.”
“These [attempts] have included attempted personal service of our client at his home, the instruction of a private process server, and attempts to email the proceedings not only to this firm, but to barristers (who are not authorised to conduct litigation) who are known to have acted for the Duke...We reiterate that our client reserves all his rights, including to contest the jurisdiction of the US courts.”
The U.S., which recognizes the Hague Service Convention, officially ratified it on April 14, 1967.
In addition, Prince Andrew’s legal team argued Giuffre’s “claim may not be viable,” arguing a document she signed in 2009 may bar any litigation in the matter.
Giuffre reportedly signed a release barring her from taking legal actions against those connected to Epstein, as part of a separate court settlement against the convicted sex offender more than 20 years ago.
The royal’s lawyers cited the settlement’s possible role in the dismissal of a battery case Giuffre brought against Epstein’s former attorney, Alan Dershowtiz, which was dismissed in August.
“Once we are able to obtain a copy of the settlement agreement in Florida, which appears to be subject to confidentiality restrictions, we will be able to determine whether Ms Giuffre has a viable claim,” Bloxsome wrote. “Obviously until we have made that determination, it is difficult for us to give advice as to whether the Duke should voluntarily accept service.”
Prince Andrew’s legal team didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment surrounding the case Monday.
In 2019, Prince Andrew, who denied ever meeting Giuffre — despite photographic evidence — announced he would step back from public life over the allegations. He vowed to assist U.S. investigators if called upon.
"It didn't happen,” the Duke of York told BBC Newsnight. “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
Last month, authorities in the U.K. announced they’d investigate sexual abuse allegations against the prince.
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