Prince Andrew asks judge to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s sex-abuse suit

December 15, 2021
Prince Andrew's lawyers filed a memo in court laying out reasons why Virginia Roberts Giuffre's sexual-assault lawsuit against the British royal should be dismissed.
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Prince Andrew is asking a judge to dismiss a sexual-abuse lawsuit brought against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, saying the accuser was the age of consent at the time. 

In her civil suit, Giuffre reiterates allegations she’s made publicly against Queen Elizabeth’s son since January 2015. She says the 61-year-old royal raped and sexually assaulted her after she was sex-trafficked to him at age 17 by Andrew’s former friend, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in 2019. 

Andrew has vehemently denied all her accusations.  

According to a memo filed Monday to the Southern District of New York, lawyers for Andrew say Giuffre’s claims are based on evidence that is “not a reasonable mechanism” to be used under the New York Child Victims Act, which allowed accusers to sue beyond the statute of limitations. Giuffre sued days before the act expired in August. 

USA TODAY has reached out to Giuffre’s lawyer for further comment. 

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Lawyers say the act is used to protect victims of abuse who are under 18, though the state’s age of consent is 17, making the issue of Giuffre’s consent “unsettled.” 

The lawyers write that Giuffre’s memory of consenting is also “highly subjective.” 

“These highly subjective determinations are the kind most likely to be hampered by the passage of time, as memories fade, false memories are created, and witnesses die or otherwise become unavailable,” the motion reads. 

Andrew’s team adds that witnesses would be necessary to prove Giuffre didn’t give him consent and notes that all are unavailable.

“The only witnesses to the purported implied threats under which Giuffre allegedly engaged in unconsented sex acts with Prince Andrew are Epstein (deceased), (Ghislaine) Maxwell (incarcerated), Prince Andrew (the accused) and Giuffre herself.” 

The memo lists other reasons why Andrew is seeking the lawsuit’s dismissal, including a 2009 sealed settlement between Epstein and Giuffre, vagueness in the allegations and duplicate claims. The documents ask the court to either dismiss Giuffre’s complaint or order her to provide a more definite statement about when and where the alleged incidents occurred.

Lawyers for Prince Andrew are expected to argue their motion to dismiss before the court on Jan. 4. 

In September, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan ruled a trial date could take place in late 2022. Kaplan still has to rule on Andrew’s motion to dismiss the case, so it’s too early to say whether there will actually be a trial – or whether Andrew will travel to New York to appear in court. 

Contributing: Maria Puente

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