There have long been allegations of abuse against Prince Andrew, which he always rejected. But now there is an official lawsuit in New York. Andrew’s lawyers make it clear: he wants to fight back.
New York / London – After weeks of silence, the British Prince Andrew (61) defended himself against a civil suit in the USA.
A lawyer Andrews called the lawsuit at a telephone hearing on Monday as “unfounded, untenable and potentially unlawful,” as the PA news agency reported. The now 38-year-old Virgina Giuffre accuses Queen Elizabeth II’s second eldest son (95) of having sexually abused her several times as a 17-year-old – and demands compensation. Andrew always denied the allegations.
The lawsuit is related to the abuse scandal involving the convicted sex offender and US multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in prison in 2019. Prince Andrew was several overnight guests at Epstein’s home in the USA and the Caribbean. He does not want to hear about the machinations of his friend and his ex-partner Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently waiting in a New York prison for her trial, but neither wants to have been involved. The two are said to have brought dozens of girls and young women into their dependence and sexually abused, as well as other men.
So far, the prince had simply ignored the lawsuit. That he now wants to defend himself against it should have very practical reasons. Otherwise, according to the plaintiff, he would have had to expect an automatic defeat in court. The Royal now apparently wants to pull out all the stops. Even the correct delivery of the lawsuit documents is a controversial issue. According to Andrew’s lawyers, despite multiple attempts, they were not properly delivered to him.
But that also seems anything but easy. Giuffre’s lawyers had previously announced that a police officer standing guard outside Andrew’s luxurious Windsor estate had received the prince’s court documents on a second attempt. But it was initially unclear whether that would be sufficient. According to media reports, the judge gave the plaintiff a week to send the documents to Andrew in a different way.
Andrew’s attorney also considers the lawsuit to be unlawful because Giuffre allegedly gave up her right to civil action in an out-of-court settlement with Epstein in 2009. Therefore Andrew and all other possible accused are relieved of any liability in the matter. However, the agreement is under lock and key.
The allegations have had a devastating effect on Andrew’s reputation even without a judgment. In a BBC interview, which was intended as a liberation, the prince denied everything at the end of 2019, but it made the situation even worse. “I can absolutely categorically tell you that it (the abuse) never took place. I have no recollection of ever having met this lady, absolutely none, ”he said at the time. But a photo from the time of the alleged abuse shows him together with Giuffre in Maxwell’s London property. Andrew was also perceived as implausible because of other statements. He then had to withdraw from his royal duties.
For the time being, Andrew does not have to fear extradition to the USA because it is not a criminal proceeding. The New York Public Prosecutor’s Office had only brought Andrew into play as a possible witness, but repeatedly complained about his unwillingness to cooperate. The chief of the London police, Cressida Dick, had announced a review of the abuse allegations.
The Queen has remained silent about the events so far, but has repeatedly shown herself to be at the side of her son. He is currently said to be staying with his mother at the Balmoral summer residence in Scotland. dpa