Prince Andrew demands jury trial in Virginia Giuffre sexual assault case

·3 min read

Prince Andrew is demanding a jury trial in the Virginia Giuffre sexual assault case, his lawyers announced on Wednesday.

The defiant statement from the prince’s legal team means a civil trial is likely to take place later this year in New York.

Ms Giuffre is suing Prince Andrew for international emotional harm and battery, and alleges she was forced to have sex with him on three occasions when she was 17 years old.

The Duke of York has denied any wrongdoing.

In a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan on Wednesday, Andrew’s attorney Andrew Brettler set out a detailed response to Ms Giuffre’s allegations that she was trafficked by the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and directed to have sex with the royal.

He denied many allegations contained in Ms Giuffre’s complaint, elsewhere saying he lacked “sufficient information to admit or deny the allegations”.

Andrew also denies that he was “close friends” with Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted last month of five counts of trafficking young girls for her “parter in crime” Jeffrey Epstein.

Mr Brettler sets out more than 10 “affirmative defences” in the letter, which refer to evidence the royal will use to try to disprove the case.

Among them are claims that Ms Giuffre’s “wrongful conduct” will be used against her, and the so-called “doctrine of unclean hands”, which claims Ms Giuffre has acted unethically.

“Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the Complaint,” Mr Brettler states.

Lawyers for the Duke of York want to question Virginia Giuffre’s husband and psychologist (PA Media)
Lawyers for the Duke of York want to question Virginia Giuffre’s husband and psychologist (PA Media)

Ms Giuffre’s attorneys hit back at the royal for appearing to blame her for abuse she suffered as a teenager, and say they look forward to “confronting” him in court.

In a statement to The Independent, Ms Giuffre’s attorney David Boies said: “Prince Andrew’s answer continues his approach of denying any knowledge or information concerning the claims against him, and purporting to blame the victim of the abuse for somehow bringing it on herself.

“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms Giuffre for her own abuse at his deposition and at trial.”

If the trial goes ahead, Andrew, 61, would likely be subpoenaed to testify in person, but could refuse to travel to the United States.

According to several legal experts, a British citizen cannot be force to travel to the US for a civil trial, meaning Andrew could choose to give evidence over video.

Judge Kaplan has indicated he would seek to hold a trial in September or October.

Prince Andrew has denied being closed friends with convicted child sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell (Courtesy of Virginia Giuffre)
Prince Andrew has denied being closed friends with convicted child sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell (Courtesy of Virginia Giuffre)

Andrew had fought to have Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit thrown out on the grounds that he was shielded by a 2009 settlement deal between Epstein and Ms Giuffre.

Earlier this month Judge Kaplan dismissed denied the motion after hearing oral arguments from his lawyers.

After the decision, Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by the Queen. In a statement, Buckingham Palace announced he would face the lawsuit as a “private citizen”.

Andrew’s attorneys have said they want to question Ms Giuffre’s husband Robert Giuffre and her psychologist Dr Judith Lightfoot as part of his civil case.

They claimed that Ms Giuffre “may suffer from false memories”, and that Dr Lightfoot should be examined on “theory of false memories”.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyers have demanded the royal produce evidence of an “alleged medical inability to sweat”, as he claimed in a BBC Nesnight interview in 2019.

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