U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan stressed Wednesday that he was not deciding on the truth of these allegations. He rejected Andrew's argument that Virginia Giuffre should have her lawsuit dismissed at an early stage due to an old settlement she had made with Jeffrey Epstein, who she alleges set up sexual encounters between the prince and her.
Kaplan stated that the $500,000 settlement between Epstein & Giuffre did not involve the prince and doesn't prohibit a lawsuit against him now.
Giuffre sued Andrew in August. She claimed that she was forced to have sexual encounters in 2001 by Epstein, his long-time companion Ghislaine Maxwell.
Andrew's lawyers claimed that the lawsuit was lacking in specificity. They were disqualified by the 2009 deal she made with Epstein. Giuffre's credibility and motives were also attacked by them, claiming in October that the lawsuit was meant to "another payday at his cost and at the expense for those closest to him."
Andrew's lawyers claimed that Andrew never abused or assaulted Giuffre, and that he "unambiguously denies the false allegations made against Giuffre."
Giuffre's claims have been denied by the prince. Late 2019, Prince Andrew stated to BBC Newsnight that Giuffre had never had sex and that he doesn't remember ever having met her.
Critics criticized Andrew's interview for being insensitive to Epstein’s victims. The prince then resigned from his royal duties.
His lawyers did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. Buckingham Palace informed The Associated Press it would not comment about the "ongoing legal issue."
Kaplan stated that at this stage of litigation, he was legally required to act as though the Giuffre allegations were true.
Kaplan stated that "the law prohibits the Court to consider at this stage the defendant's attempts to cast doubt upon the truth of Ms. Giuffre’s allegations, even though such efforts would be permitted at trial."
Giuffre and Epstein reached a settlement a decade ago, just as the financier had committed suicide at a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting a 2019 sex trafficking trial.
Kaplan stated that Epstein and Giuffre had not intended for language to "directly," or "primarily" or "substantially” benefit a prince like the prince. He also noted that the prince wasn't a party to this agreement.
He said that the agreement was not a good example of clear and exact drafting.
The judge's conclusions mirrored the comments he made during oral argument by both sides, when he was especially dismissive of arguments made for the prince.
Epstein, aged 66, committed suicide in Manhattan prison cell while awaiting a trial for sextrafficking. Maxwell, 60 was recently convicted in New York of conspiracy and sextrafficking. Andrew's accusations against Giuffre were not part of either criminal case.
Unless they make it public, the AP doesn't usually identify victims of sexual assault. Giuffre did.