Judge Repeatedly Rejects Claims from Prince Andrew's Lawyer to Toss Sex Assault Suit

A U.S. judge on Tuesday heard arguments from Prince Andrew's lawyers to have his sexual assault lawsuit thrown out without a trial in New York.

Prince Andrew, 61, is being sued by Virginia Giuffre, 38, who claims when she was 17 she was sexually assaulted by Andrew multiple times in 2001 after she was introduced to him by Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein.

During a virtual hearing, U.S. district judge Lewis Kaplan heard arguments made by Andrew Brettler, the prince's attorney, who said the lawsuit "should absolutely be dismissed."

Brettler argued the $500,000 settlement made in 2009 made between Epstein and Giuffre, which was unsealed and made public Monday, meant Andrew was protected from being sued by Giuffre.

The settlement was for a Florida case where Giuffre agreed to "release, acquit, satisfy, and forever discharge" Epstein and "any other person or entity" who could be connected to Epstein and be described as a "potential defendant," The Guardian reported.

Brettler said the settlement should end the lawsuit and the wording of "potential defendants" in the terms of the agreement for Giuffre not being allowed to sue others involved would stop her from suing Andrew now.

Giuffre's attorney David Boies disagreed and said the previous settlement between his client and Epstein was "irrelevant to the case against Prince Andrew," according to The Guardian.

Kaplan repeatedly disagreed with Brettlers arguments and seemed to not be leaning toward his request of dismissal during the hearing.

"I appreciate the arguments and the passion. You'll have the decision pretty soon," Kaplan said at the end of the roughly hour hearing.

Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew puts his arm around the waist of Virginia Giuffre at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell in a photo included in the rape lawsuit filed against him in New York. Giuffre says the image was taken by Jeffrey Epstein the night Andrew raped her, which the prince denies. VIRGINIA GIUFFRE

Kaplan noted that there could be many interpretations of what constituted a potential defendant and that the only parties who would know exactly what was intended were Giuffre and Epstein.

"This is an example where the word 'potential' is the use of a word to which you or I cannot find any meaning at all," the judge said.

He also noted that the sealing of the terms of the settlement deal for a dozen years meant that anyone the parties might have intended to be protected against future lawsuits by Giuffre would never have known since they couldn't see it.

Giuffre was once in Maxwell's London home when Epstein, Maxwell and the prince forced her to have sexual intercourse with Andrew against her will, the lawsuit said. It said that on another occasion in Epstein's New York mansion, Maxwell forced Giuffre and another victim to sit on Andrew's lap as he touched Giuffre.

During Tuesday's arguments, Kaplan rejected Brettler's assertion that Giuffre's claims were too vague and that she failed to "articulate what happened to her at the hands of Prince Andrew."

The judge read aloud a portion of the lawsuit in which Giuffre alleged "involuntary sexual intercourse."

"There isn't any doubt what that means," Kaplan said.

The judge also appeared dismissive of other claims by Brettler, including that it was unconstitutional for New York's governor to permit the temporary changing of a New York state law to allow lawsuits pertaining to sex abuse from decades ago to be filed.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan federal jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial, while Maxwell, 60, was convicted last week of sex trafficking and conspiracy charges in federal court in New York.

The prince has strenuously denied the allegations in Giuffre's lawsuit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Prince Andrew Sexual Assault Suit
A U.S. judge on Tuesday heard arguments from Prince Andrew's lawyers to have his sexual assault lawsuit thrown out without a trial in New York. Above, Andrew attends the Sunday Service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor, following the announcement on Friday April 9 of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99, on April 11, 2021, in Windsor, England. Steve Parsons/Getty Images