By Sonia Moghe, CNN
Attorneys for Prince Andrew are asking for a lawsuit filed against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre to be dismissed, saying it violates the terms of a settlement agreement with sex offender and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, where she agreed to a “general release” of claims against the two men and others.
Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second-oldest son, is being sued in New York by Giuffre, who alleges she was forced to perform sex acts with him. She said she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends, including the Duke of York, when she was underage.
Giuffre has said the assaults happened in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands, and that Andrew was aware that she was a minor — 17 years old — when it started.
Andrew has consistently denied Giuffre’s allegations.
In the filing made Friday afternoon, attorneys for Andrew reiterated he “unequivocally denies Giuffre’s false allegations against him.” CNN has reached out to an attorney for Giuffre for comment.
“Virginia Giuffre may well be a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein … and nothing can excuse, nor fully capture, the abhorrence and gravity of Epstein’s monstrous behavior against Giuffre, if so,” it says. “However, and without diminishing the harm suffered as a result of Epstein’s alleged misconduct, Prince Andrew never sexually abused or assaulted Giuffre.”
The filing accuses Giuffre of profiting off her claims of abuse by “selling stories and photographs to the press” and entering into “secret agreements” to settle claims against Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s one-time girlfriend who has also been charged with sex trafficking after federal prosecutors allege she recruited and groomed a girl to engage in sex acts with Epstein.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty. Her trial is expected to begin in November.
“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 filing says. “Epstein’s abuse of Giuffre does not justify her public campaign against Prince Andrew.”
It adds Giuffre entered into a settlement with Epstein in 2009 which included a “general release” of all claims against Epstein and numerous other people, which attorneys say included Andrew. Details of the settlement were redacted from the court filing made by Andrew’s attorneys.
Earlier this week, a US judge set a deadline of mid-July of next year for the Duke of York to answer questions under oath in the civil sex assault case. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan set July 14 as the deadline for the submission of all evidence including a potential deposition from Andrew, according to court documents.
The scheduling order signed by the judge in New York means lawyers for Giuffre must question Andrew outside of court and submit the interview by that date.
Also in October, London’s police force decided to drop its investigation sparked by Giuffre’s case after reviewing a number of court documents.
“This review has concluded and we are taking no further action,” the force told CNN in a statement.
The Duke of York was served legal papers for the lawsuit by Giuffre’s lawyers in September.
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