NEW YORK – A new lawyer for Britain’s Prince Andrew said on Monday the royal failed to properly receive a copy of a new lawsuit filed by a woman who says she was forced to have sex with him at age 17, and that he intends to challenge jurisdiction in this case.
Hollywood lawyer Andrew Brettler went on the offensive against Virginia Giuffre, telling a New York judge his claim was “baseless, unsustainable and potentially illegal.”
Andrew has repeatedly denied claims in the lawsuit brought by Giuffre, who said that as a teenager living in Florida she was one of many girls and young women sexually assaulted by sex offender and millionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
In her trial and in interviews, Giuffre says she traveled to London with Epstein in 2001 and had sex with Andrew, after a night of dancing, at the home of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre said Epstein paid her $ 15,000 and then arranged for her to have two more sex with the prince in New York City and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Andrew has denied the allegations, saying in an interview that he has no recollection of ever having met Giuffre, although at least one photograph appears to show them together. Andrew said he couldn’t explain the image, which appears to show his hand on the woman’s side, and suggested it may have been tampered with.
Brettler told the judge the lawsuit against Andrew – who is the Duke of York – is barred by an earlier settlement agreement that remains under seal that “frees the Duke and others from potential liability.” He added that Andrew intended to ask the UK High Court to rule on the matter.
“We are very concerned about the merits of this lawsuit,” said Brettler, whose clients include several celebrities accused of sexual misconduct.
Giuffre had previously settled a lawsuit against Maxwell over his allegations.
Maxwell is awaiting trial in the United States for helping recruit young victims for Epstein to abuse. She had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy of sex trafficking and an additional charge of sex trafficking
This case does not involve either Giuffre or Andrew. Epstein committed suicide weeks after his arrest in 2019.
Brettler made a procedural argument on behalf of Andrew on Monday at the first pre-trial conference in the case, saying on Monday that Giuffre’s legal team had failed to take the necessary steps to open the case, including providing Andrew with a copy of the trial. Lawyers for Giuffre said the documents were handed over to a police officer on duty at the main gates of Andrew’s home in Windsor Great Park on August 27.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan did not immediately rule on the matter, but told attorneys that all bureaucratic hurdles regarding the meaning of the lawsuit would ultimately be resolved and the case would be argued.
“I think we’re making this a lot more complicated than it actually is,” the judge said. “Let’s eliminate all the technical details and get to the bottom of it. “