Prince Andrew prepares for ‘marathon’ court fight
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A source close to the Duke said last night he would “continue to defend himself” against the allegations of sexual assault following the US judge’s decision to dismiss his legal team’s attempt to have the case thrown out. The source said: “Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling.
“However, it was not a judgment on the merits of Ms Giuffre’s allegations. This is a marathon not a sprint and the Duke will continue to defend himself against these claims.”
Andrew’s next attempt at having the allegations dismissed looks set to centre on his legal team’s belief that under US federal law, at least one of the parties has to be a US resident. His accuser ‑ formerly Virginia Roberts ‑ is an American living in Western Australia.
The Royal’s determination to press on came as her lawyer said she wants to be “vindicated” by the legal process and is not motivated by reaching a “purely financial settlement”.
One of the few options open to Andrew is to reach an out-of-court settlement with Ms Giuffre.
But the suggestion by her lawyer David Boies that money alone would not satisfy his client might indicate she may want her day in court or some admission from the Duke or acknowledgement of her position.
Mr Boies declined to rule out the prospect of his client agreeing a settlement but said there was “no suggestion of discussions at this point”.
Legal experts have described Andrew reaching an agreement, likely to be in the millions of pounds, as his best worst-case option ‑ as it avoids him being cross-examined in court.
The rumours come as the Prince found a buyer for his beloved ski chalet in a deal worth an estimated £18million.
Sources confirmed the sale of the home in the exclusive Swiss resort of Verbier is “proceeding”after a mystery buyer agreed to take it off his hands.
He was only able to sell Chalet Helora after settling a £6.6million debt to French socialite Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, who sold it to him and Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for £18million.
Mr Boies said on BBC Two’s Newsnight: “It is important to Virginia that this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims.
“I don’t think she has a firm view at this point as to exactly what a solution should be. But what’s going to be important is that this resolution vindicates her and vindicates the claim she has made.”
He added: “A purely financial settlement is not anything that I think she’s interested in.”
She is seeking unspecified damages in court but there is speculation it could be in the millions of dollars.
Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed a motion by Andrew’s lawyers to have the case thrown out after they argued Ms Giuffre had waived her right to pursue the Duke by signing a confidential settlement with the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, now dead.
The decision means Andrew is a step closer to appearing ‑ if he chooses to engage with the US legal system ‑ in front of a jury, whether in person or more likely via video link.
There is also the prospect his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie and ex-wife the Duchess of York may be called to give evidence.
Asked by presenter Kirsty Wark if Ms Giuffre was “open to the idea of a settlement”, Mr Boies replied: “I don’t want to prejudge that”.
But he said previous attempts he made to resolve the issue with Andrew were rebuffed.
He added: “Prior to the time that we brought the case we reached out to Prince Andrew and Prince Andrew’s lawyers and suggested a mediation as a possible way of avoiding litigation. There was no interest in that at that time. Whether that has changed or not, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Ms Giuffre, 38, alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 ‑ a minor under US law ‑ in London and New York, and when she was 18 on Little St James in the US Virgin Islands.
The Duke vehemently denies sleeping with her while she was controlled by his friends Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been convicted of sex trafficking.
Die was cast after woeful TV interview, says RICHARD PALMER
The Queen’s decision to strip Prince Andrew of his remaining royal roles frees him to fight his sexual assault civil case or settle out of court as a private citizen.
It is mostly about distancing the monarchy from the fallout of this hugely embarrassing damages case brought by Virginia Giuffre.
She claims she was forced to have sex with him when she was 17 and working for his friends Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell ‑ claims he strenuously denies.
But there has been growing concern inside the Royal Household that other family members and their staff might get dragged into giving evidence in what promises to be a damaging trial.
The Queen’s action may not save them completely but it puts the Firm at arm’s length from Andrew, 61, who has been a dead man walking since he gave an interview to BBC Newsnight in 2019 about his friendship with Epstein and Maxwell – both now convicted of procuring or grooming young girls for sex.
Andrew’s best option may be to seek an out-of-court settlement, although Ms Giuffre, 38, has made it clear she wants him to admit he did wrong and that she is telling the truth before she countenances agreeing for him to pay her compensation.
His lawyers have suggested he is not ready to think about a settlement yet and intends to fight the case.
They remain focused on trying to halt it, potentially using the fact that neither Ms Giuffre nor Andrew live in the United States and, therefore, its courts do not have jurisdiction.
An appeal of the judge’s decision to press ahead with the trial has been ruled out because it would be heard after the trial.
One option would be for Andrew to ignore the case and refuse to pay but his friends say that will not happen.
It is also highly unlikely he will go to New York to sit in court after giving evidence on video during the pre-trial, says a source close to him. He faces a rocky road.
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