Prince Andrew has been accused of playing ‘hide-and-seek’ as a judge rules that sexual assault case papers can be filed in the US
Prince Andrew has been accused of hiding from a sexual assault lawsuit as a US judge has ruled that legal papers can be filed through his Los Angeles-based lawyer.
The legal representatives of Virginia Joffrey of America claimed that the Duke of York was “actively evading” official efforts to bring him in a lawsuit he allegedly abused when she was a teenager.
Ms Joffrey’s legal team said it had submitted papers on the Queen’s son by turning them over to the Metropolitan Police Officer on duty in Windsor last month.
However, Prince Andrew’s lawyers argued that the king had not received the documents relating to the lawsuit properly.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled Thursday that Giuffre’s plan to turn over her lawsuit to the Los Angeles royal family’s attorney was “reasonably calculated to draw the defendant’s attention to the papers.”
He ruled barely six hours after Geoffrey, 38, formally requested his intervention, saying: “Service is not meant to be a game of hide and seek behind palace walls.”
The judge’s decision also came just a day after the London High Court said it would arrange the Duke’s service if the parties failed to come to an arrangement of their own.
Ms Joffrey, last month, sued the 61-year-old for unspecified damages, accusing him of battery and willful emotional distress over alleged misconduct nearly two decades ago.
Ms. Joffrey was 17 years old, and therefore still a minor under US law, at the time of Andrew’s alleged abuse, which she said occurred at a time when his friend, financier and pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, was sexually abusing her.
Prince Andrew denied all the allegations, while his lawyer Andrew Brettler called Joffrey’s case a “baseless, unworkable, and potentially illegal lawsuit” during a court hearing on Monday.
The Duke, who was staying at Queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland last month, resigned from his royal duties after details emerged about his relationship with Epstein, a registered sex offender who committed suicide in a Manhattan prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial. charged with sex trafficking.
A separate judge said on Thursday that Prince Andrew may seek to set aside a 2009 settlement agreement that his lawyer claims protected him from Joffrey’s suit.
Judge Loretta Prisca said in a written order that the Duke could request information to support arguments that the agreement between Mrs. Joffrey and Epstein dismissed her lawsuit against the King.
Breitler, who represents the duke, told a federal judge in Manhattan that he believed the settlement agreement “releases our client of any liability.”
In her lawsuit, Ms Geoffrey accused Andrew of forcing her to have sex in the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime partner.
Joffrey alleged that Andrew abused her at Epstein’s Mansion in Manhattan and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
Maxwell faces a trial on November 29 on charges that she helped recruit underage girls and groom Epstein for sexual assault. She is not guilty.
Andrew has not been charged with any crime.
Additional reporting by agencies