U.S. judge rejects motion to dismiss sex abuse lawsuit against Britain’s Prince Andrew

A U.S. district judge rejected a motion by Britain’s Prince Andrew on Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre that alleges he sexually abused her when she was 17.  U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said the 2009 deal “cannot be seen” to benefit Andrew, adding, “Independent of whether the release language applies to Prince Andrew, the agreement, at a minimum, is ‘reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation’ on the equally important question of whether this defendant may invoke it.”

Prince Andrew’s lawyers argued that the suit should be thrown out because of a 2009 deal that Guiffre signed with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. In 2009, Giuffre accepted $500,000 from Jeffrey Epstein to settle a lawsuit she had filed against him in Florida. Part of that agreement extends protection to “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant (‘Other Potential Defendants’) from all, and all manner of [claims] that said First Parties ever had… or may have, against Jeffrey Epstein, or Other Potential Defendants.”  Andrew’s lawyers argued that he was among the “Other Potential Defendants” protected under that 2009 deal, and that he should therefore be released from any claims Giuffre might make against him.

Giuffre’s lawyers argued that Andrew was not among the “Other Potential Defendants” that the deal referred to, and was not named in the Florida lawsuit. Giuffre did allege in that suit that she was flown around the world by Epstein to have sexual encounters with men, “including royalty, politicians, academicians, businessmen and/or professional and personal acquaintances.” Giuffre filed the civil suit against Andrew in New York in August, saying she was coerced into sexual encounters with him 2001 by Epstein.  Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan jail in 2019; his companion Ghislaine Maxwell, was recently convicted of sex trafficking.

Editorial credit: Mick Atkins / Shutterstock.com

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