U.K. Court To Weigh In Over Prince Andrew Sex Assault Case
(Bloomberg) -- Prince Andrew, who has so far avoided responding to a U.S. claim of sexual assault, may have to formally answer the lawsuit after the British courts said they were prepared to weigh in over the disputed litigation.
The second son of Queen Elizabeth II has been contesting the service of a New York suit by a woman who claims she was recruited by Jeffrey Epstein as a teenager and “lent out” to the British royal and other men for sex. London’s High Court said lawyers representing Virginia Giuffre had provided new information, allowing for judges to accept the request for service.
“The High Court will now take steps to serve” the prince, “unless service is arranged by agreement between the parties,” a spokesman for the courts said in an email Wednesday.
The suit was filed last month by Giuffre, who claims Prince Andrew sexually abused her in Epstein’s New York home, on his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and in the London home of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who’s in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Prince Andrew has denied he ever had sex with Giuffre.
The Duke of York’s spokeswoman didn’t immediately comment on the development. His U.S. lawyers didn’t respond to a request for comment sent outside of usual business hours. The prince’s U.K. lawyers, who aren’t instructed on the U.S. matter, declined to comment.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said this week that the prince will be properly served “sooner or later” with papers requiring him to respond. A filing in the U.S. suit claimed to have successfully delivered the lawsuit papers to the prince at his home in Windsor at the end of the August. The documents were left at the gates of the residence and the agent didn’t hand them to Prince Andrew directly.
According to Giuffre, Prince Andrew is liable for battery and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. “Prince Andrew committed sexual assault and battery upon plaintiff when she was 17 years old,” she claimed in the complaint.
The case is Giuffre v. Prince Andrew, 1:21-cv-06702, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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