A federal judge overseeing Virginia Giuffre’s sexual abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew has asked British and Australian authorities to help both sides obtain testimony from witnesses outside the US, according to court papers filed Monday.
Earlier this month, the Duke of York and Giuffre’s legal teams requested that US District Judge Lewis Kaplan make the petition to the relevant foreign officials.
Giuffre alleges in a civil suit filed in August in Manhattan federal court that she was sexually abused by the Duke on three occasions when she was under 18 at the behest of late financier Jeffrey Epstein and disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
Her team wants to depose Robert Ashton Olney, the prince’s former royal assistant known as an equerry. The attorneys say his name and number appear in Epstein’s phone book under “Duke of York,” and the ex-aide would know details of the royal’s travels and appointments in the early 2000s when Guiffre alleges the abuse occurred.
Another witness that Giuffre’s team wants to question in England is Shukri Walker. She has publicly stated that she saw Prince Andrew with a woman who may have been Giuffre at Tramp nightclub in London.
Giuffre has alleged that she went to the club with Prince Andrew in 2001 then was forced to have sex with him at Maxwell’s apartment later that night.
In a train wreck BBC interview in 2019, the Duke denied ever meeting the teen.
Judge Kaplan also petitioned Australian authorities to assist the Duke’s legal team in deposing Giuffre’s therapist Dr. Judith Lightfoot and her husband, Robert Giuffre.
The civil case, in which Giuffre alleges battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, is scheduled to go to trial in the fall of 2022. She is suing for monetary damages.
Prince Andrew has vehemently denied the claims that have proven disastrous for his public image. Queen Elizabeth II‘s middle son gave up his public duties and royal patronages in the wake of the scandal, which has continued to highlight his unseemly connection to Epstein and Maxwell.
In court papers, Andrew’s legal team has countered that Giuffre herself exploited women, allegedly recruiting girls to be abused by Epstein, including a 14-year-old.
Epstein, who Giuffre alleges trafficked her to rich and powerful men, hanged himself in his jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex crime charges.
Maxwell was convicted in December of sex trafficking and other charges for recruiting and grooming young women to be abused by Epstein.