Lawyers representing American woman who claims Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her have asked UK courts to formally notify her of her lawsuit
LONDON – Lawyers representing an American woman who claims Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her have asked UK courts to formally notify her of her lawsuit after a lawyer for the prince argued this week that Andrew had failed not properly informed of the “unfounded” civil action.
The British High Court accepted Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers’ request to formally contact Andrew about the lawsuit in America.
According to the lawsuit filed last month in New York federal court, Giuffre repeated the claims she had made publicly about the prince, claiming that Andrew had repeatedly abused her in 2001 when she was under. 18 years old.
At the end of 2019, Andrew told the BBC’s “Newsnight” show that he had never had sex with Giuffre, saying: “That did not happen.”
At a hearing in New York on Monday, Giuffre’s attorney argued that the prince had already been properly served when documents formally informing him of the trial were handed over to a Metropolitan Police officer at the main gates of the Andrew’s house in Windsor Great Park on August 1st. 27.
But Andrew Brettler, representing the prince at the first court hearing resulting from the trial, told Judge Lewis A. Kaplan that Andrew was not properly served. He also said Giuffre’s claim was “baseless, unsustainable and potentially illegal”.
And he also argued that Andrew cannot be sued because an earlier lawsuit in the United States that was settled “exonerates our client from liability.” This settlement document, however, remains sealed.
Kaplan gave Giuffre’s attorneys a week to overcome bureaucratic hurdles regarding the meaning of the lawsuit so that it could be resolved and the case could proceed.
Under a treaty that governs cross-country claims called the Hague Service Convention, Giuffre’s legal team can ask the High Court in London to formally notify Andrew of his civil action. The court had previously rejected the request on a technicality, but changed course.
“The lawyers acting for Ms Giuffre have now provided additional information to the High Court, and the High Court has accepted the request for service under the Hague Service Convention,” the court said. “The High Court will now take steps to serve under the agreement, unless service is arranged by agreement between the parties.”
Associated Press Writer Larry Neumeister in New York contributed.