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Prince Andrew’s lawyers question legal documents service

LONDON (AP) – A US court will hold a pre-trial conference on Monday in civil action brought by a woman who claims Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her as the two sides argue over whether the prince correctly received the case documents.

Lawyers for the woman, Virginia Giuffre, said the documents were turned over to a Metropolitan Police officer on duty at the main gates of Andrew’s home in Windsor Great Park on August 27.

But Blackfords, a law firm which said it represents Andrew “in certain UK cases”, questioned whether the documents had been properly served and raised the possibility of challenging the court’s jurisdiction in the case, according to a letter from the September 6 referenced in court documents. filed by Giuffre’s lawyers.

“We reiterate that our customer reserves all of their rights, including challenging the jurisdiction of US courts (including on the basis of potentially faulty service),” they wrote.

A US judge will ultimately determine whether the documents were delivered correctly. Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will hold the first pre-trial conference call by teleconference on Monday.

The prince has repeatedly denied the allegations in the lawsuit brought by Giuffre, a longtime accuser of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

When the complaint was filed last month, legal experts suggested it left Andrew no good option as Queen Elizabeth II’s second son sought to repair his image and return to public life.

If the prince tries to ignore the trial, he runs the risk that the court will find him in default and order him to pay damages. And if he decides to fight, Andrew faces years of sordid headlines as the case makes its way to court.

Guiffre’s attorney, David Boies, said in court documents that it was implausible that Andrew was unaware of the lawsuit.

“Lawyers for Blackfords, who he has apparently asked to evade and challenge the service, have confirmed that Prince Andrew himself has already been briefed on this lawsuit and is assessing his chances of success,” Boies wrote.

“And even if Blackfords had not confirmed as much, any further conclusion would be implausible – reputable media around the world have reported on the filing of the plaintiff’s complaint, and hundreds, if not thousands of articles about this lawsuit have been reported. published. “

The lawsuit is another unwanted story for the royal family, reminding the public of Andrew’s connection to Epstein two years after his death. The British royal family is also still recovering from allegations of racism and callousness leveled against them by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, earlier this year.

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