Prince Andrew Seeks to Dismiss N.Y. Sex-Assault Lawsuit
(Bloomberg) -- Prince Andrew said in a court filing that a woman who accused him of sexual assault when she was a teenager and under the control of financier Jeffrey Epstein was just out for “another payday” and that a U.S. judge should throw out her lawsuit against him.
While Virginia Giuffre may have been a victim of Epstein’s “monstrous behavior,” Andrew insists he “never sexually abused or assaulted” her, his lawyers said in a court filing Friday with U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan.
Giuffre has “profited from her allegations against Epstein and others” by selling her story to the press and by entering into secret agreements to settle her lawsuits against Epstein and with his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, Andrew’s lawyers said. Epstein died in 2019 and Maxwell is in jail awaiting trial on charges she trafficked girls for Epstein.
“Most people could only dream of obtaining the sums of money that Giuffre has secured for herself over the years,” defense lawyer Andrew Brettler said in the prince’s request for a dismissal of the lawsuit. “Accusing a member of the world’s best known royal family of serious misconduct has helped Giuffre create a media frenzy online and in the traditional press.”
The prince said Giuffre had given a paid interview and sold a photograph taken with the Prince to the Daily Mail for $160,000.
Giuffre lawyer Sigrid McCawley, in an emailed statement, said her client was brave to have come forward about alleged abuse and that “the only party to this litigation using money to his benefit is Prince Andrew.”
McCawley added, “If Virginia Giuffre had stood silent in the face of outrageous statements like Prince Andrew and his legal team churn out routinely -- his motion to dismiss being no exception -- the decades-long sex-trafficking ring his friend Jeffrey Epstein operated and he participated in would never have been exposed.”
Giuffre filed suit in August, claiming Prince Andrew sexually abused her after Epstein “lent” her out to powerful men. She alleged the abuse occurred at Epstein’s homes in New York, his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and in Maxwell’s London home.
Andrew’s lawyers said Giuffre’s allegations against him have been “ever evolving” in various media interviews she’s given as well as in a manuscript she wrote titled “The Billionaire’s Playboy Club.” They also argued she wasn’t Epstein’s victim but had helped “recruit other young women into Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring.”
The filing Friday also reiterated Andrew’s argument that Giuffre provided Epstein with a release from “all claims against him and numerous other individuals and entities,” when she settled her lawsuit against the disgraced financier in 2009. The release negotiated by Epstein was broad and covered “any and all persons who Giuffre identified as potential targets of future lawsuits,” according to the prince’s lawyer. Details of the Epstein agreement were redacted in Friday’s filing.
“This lawsuit, too, indisputably violates the terms o the 2009 release agreement and must be dismissed,” Andrew’s lawyer said.
On Monday, Kaplan set a July 14 deadline for completing all depositions in the case, including for the prince, the woman who sued him and expert witnesses, court records show. The Manhattan federal judge said no additional parties could join the case after Dec. 15, 2021.
Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in 2019 where he’d been awaiting trial in his own sex-trafficking case. Authorities later ruled it a suicide. Maxwell is scheduled to go on trial on her own sex-trafficking charges next month.
The case is Giuffre v. Prince Andrew, 21-cv-06702, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.