Share
News

Lawsuit Against Prince Andrew Forces the British Royals' Past with Jeffrey Epstein Back Into the Spotlight

Share

Britain’s Prince Andrew is likely to do anything he can to avoid giving evidence in a U.S. lawsuit filed by an American woman who alleges that he sexually assaulted her when she was 17, lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic say.

Andrew may contest the U.S. court’s jurisdiction, or ignore the civil lawsuit altogether, taking a chance the court might find him in default and order him to pay damages.

No matter which way he goes, though, he will face the constant drumbeat of unsavory media coverage.

“There’s no good option,” said Albert D’Aquino, a New York attorney who has defended clients in similar cases. The prince has repeatedly denied the allegations in the lawsuit, brought by one of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime accusers, Virginia Giuffre.

“I don’t think he will submit to the court’s authority to order him to give a deposition, or to answer questions on which he wishes to demur,” said D’Aquino, a partner at Goldberg Segalla in Buffalo, New York.

Trending:
Biden Raises Eyebrows with Wild Plan to Fix Supply Chain: Truckers Can Drive at Night

“He runs too much risk of self-incrimination, which could then spawn a criminal action against him,” D’Aquino said.

However the prince decides to respond, the lawsuit filed Monday is another unwanted story for Queen Elizabeth II, reminding people of Andrew’s links to Epstein two years after the convicted sex offender’s death. Britain’s royal family is also still recovering from allegations of racism and insensitivity leveled at them by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, earlier this year.

Buckingham Palace tried to move past the story two years ago, forcing Andrew to step away from royal duties after he gave a disastrous TV interview in which he failed to express regret over his relationship with Epstein or offer sympathy for Epstein’s victims.

“It’s another big scandal for them,’’ said Pauline MacLaran, a royal expert and author of “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture.”

Should Prince Andrew respond to these allegations in court?

“You just have to feel very sorry for the queen. You know, just as Meghan and Harry had sort of started to quiet down … then this comes back again. And, of course, the whole seediness of it is dragged through the media yet again.’’

Lawyers for Giuffre filed the suit Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew in 2001, when she was 17. The suit says she had sexual encounters with Andrew in London, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and that the prince knew she had been trafficked by Epstein.

Giuffre has made similar allegations in the past, but the lawsuit is the first time she has directly confronted Andrew in court.

Andrew’s representatives declined to comment on the lawsuit. In a 2019 interview with the BBC, he denied ever meeting Giuffre.

“It didn’t happen,” he said. “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

Related:
Meghan Markle to Finally Be Brought Down? The Queen Reportedly Says 'Enough Is Enough'

David Boies, Giuffre’s attorney, said his team tried to open settlement talks with Andrew’s lawyers but they were ignored. Because of this, he said, Giuffre was forced to file the lawsuit before the deadline set by New York state law.

“He can ignore me and he can ignore Virginia, which is what he’s been doing for the last five years … But he can’t ignore judicial process,’’ Boies told Britain’s Channel 4 television. “This is now a matter for the courts to decide.”

There is only a “small chance” Giuffre’s lawsuit will ever be presented to a judge or jury because most civil cases in the U.S., especially high profile ones, are settled out of court, said Arick Fudali, a lawyer at The Bloom Firm, which has represented some of Epstein’s victims.

The lawsuit does, however, increase pressure to settle the case.

“It certainly puts his name back in the news, back in the international news, back in American news and back associated with Jeffery Epstein,” Fudali told the BBC.

But D’Aquino said a settlement is unlikely at this point.

If Andrew had wanted to settle the case, he would have done so before the lawsuit was filed when it could have been handled privately and kept out of the media, he said.

Mark Stephens, a specialist in international law at Howard Kennedy in London, said Andrew’s lawyers could pursue another strategy, opting to delay the suit as long as possible.

First, he said, the ongoing criminal investigation surrounding Epstein in the U.S. could delay the case because international law requires criminal issues to be resolved before civil matters. In addition, Andrew’s team is likely to wage a protracted battle over the U.S. court’s jurisdiction while arguing that their client is entitled to immunity as a member of the royal family.

“So I think it’s almost a racing certainty that this case, filed by Virginia Giuffre to preserve her rights, will actually be stayed until the outcome of the law enforcement investigations in the United States,” Stephens said.

“And only then will it have an opportunity to go forward.”

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , ,
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation