Prince Andrew Hiding 'Behind Palace Walls' to Avoid Jeffrey Epstein Lawsuit, Judge Says

Prince Andrew has been accused of "actively evading" formal efforts to serve him with a lawsuit on behalf of Virginia Giuffre, who began legal proceedings against him last month, claiming he sexually assaulted her two decades ago.

The 61-year-old royal's Los Angeles-based lawyers can now be served the lawsuit instead.

Giuffre alleges she was abused by the prince around the same time she was abused by Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his cell at a Manhattan federal jail in August 2019 while awaiting sex trafficking trial.

District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that Giuffre can try an alternative means of serving her legal papers so the royal can address her claims.

The judge said that a plan to deliver the lawsuit to Prince Andrew's L.A.-based attorney was "reasonably calculated to bring the papers served to the defendant's attention."

He added that it did not matter whether the royal "authorized" the lawyer to accept the papers.

Judge Kaplan's ruling came just hours after Giuffre formally requested the intervention. He said that "service is not intended to be a game of hide and seek" and accused Prince Andrew of hiding "behind palace walls," per The Guardian.

Last week, Giuffre's attorneys said that they had tried to serve papers to the Duke of York by leaving the documents with a police officer outside his home in Windsor.

David Bois, representing Giuffre, said in a hearing on Monday that the legal papers had been "delivered to the last known address of the defendant," adding: "We believe we have complied with the service requirement and we filed proof of service last Friday."

U.S. law requires that a defendant be served papers before a case can go ahead. This latest ruling represents a step forward for Giuffre's case.

Andrew Brettler, representing Prince Andrew, said on Monday that he believes the settlement agreement between Giuffre and Epstein "absolves our client from any and all liability."

Prine Andrew
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, attends a commemoration service at Manchester Cathedral marking the 100th anniversary since the start of the Battle of the Somme. July 1, 2016 in Manchester, England. A judge has accused the prince of "hiding behind palace walls" as his lawsuit progresses. Christopher Furlong/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Brettler described the civil action against his client as a "baseless, unviable and potentially unlawful lawsuit."

Giuffre alleges that Prince Andrew abused her on multiple occasions in 2001, when she was a minor and a trafficking victim.

The royal has denied all allegations against him.

"I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened," he said during a 2019 interview with BBC's Newsnight.

"I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."

Epstein's associate Ghislaine Maxwell is in prison awaiting trial in November. She denies charges that she procured girls for Epstein to sexually abuse.

On Thursday, Judge Loretta Preska ruled that Prince Andrew can request the unsealing of 2009 legal documents relating to the sexual assault lawsuit.

Judge Preska wrote an order that Prince Andrew's legal team can seek the information to support arguments that the agreement between Giuffre and Epstein disallows her lawsuit against the prince.