Prince Andrew’s fears that Ghislaine Maxwell’s conviction would advance Virginia Giuffre’s civil case against him were realized yesterday when a judge rejected his request to have sexual assault charges against him dismissed.
Reuters reports that Giuffre filed a civil suit against Andrew in 2021. The suit includes charges of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Giuffre claims she was sexually assaulted by the prince when she was 17 with the knowledge and assistance of Epstein and his longtime partner, Maxwell.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” Giuffre said in a statement referenced by Reuters. “The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions.”
Giuffre added, “I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but to reclaim one’s life by speaking out and demanding justice.”
Prince Andrew, 61, is a member of the British royal family. He is the son of Queen Elizabeth II.
On Dec. 29, a jury found Maxwell, 60, guilty of five federal charges:
- Sex trafficking of a minor;
- Transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; and
- Three related counts of conspiracy.
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected Andrew’s motion for dismissal. His ruling, made public on Wednesday, notes that Andrew’s legal team failed in their attempt to challenge the constitutionality of the lawsuit.
Andrew’s attorneys requested the judge dismiss the case on technicalities. Specifically, Andrew’s legal team requested that a 2009 settlement Giuffre made with Epstein be extended to Prince Andrew.
Judge Kaplan disagreed, writing there were “substantial indications in the $500,000 settlement that Epstein and Giuffre did not clearly intend for language in the deal to ‘directly, primarily, or substantially’ benefit someone such as the Prince. Further, the judge noted that the Prince was not a party to that agreement,” according to a Fox News report.
In a slight reprieve for Andrew, Judge Kaplan added that regarding the 2009 settlement, the court’s job is to determine “whether there are two or more reasonable interpretations of that document. If there are, the determination of the ‘right’ or controlling interpretation must await further proceedings.”
For now, the court determined the 2009 agreement is “reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation.”
That statement could potentially benefit either legal team.
Future proceedings will determine the scope and binding force of the 13-year-old agreement.
Speaking directly to the request of Andrew’s legal team, the judge wrote, “This Court cannot rewrite the 2009 Agreement to give the defendant rights where the agreement does not clearly manifest an intent to create them.”
Andrew denies Giuffre’s claims. Speaking to a Reuters reporter in 2019, he said:
“I can absolutely, categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
In 2021 Andrews claimed, “He could not have had sex with Giuffre at Maxwell’s home because he had returned to his house that night after a children’s party.”
Reuters reports that a trial date will likely be set sometime between September and December 2022.
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