Prince Andrew To Face U.S. Civil Sex Assault Trial

By Carlie Porterfield, Forbes Staff

Topline

Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second son, is set to face a civil trial in the U.S. over allegations he sexually abused an underage girl being trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein after a New York judge dismissed a last-ditch motion to have the suit thrown out.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, leaves the funeral service of Patricia Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, at St. Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge on June 27, 2017, in London. Getty Images

Key Facts

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected arguments from the prince’s legal team that a $500,000 settlement struck between Epstein and Virginia Giuffre in 2009 shielded Andrew from the civil case going forward in documents filed Thursday.

However, Kaplan did note that the 2009 deal—which refers to “potential defendants” and “second parties” being protected from future lawsuits brought by Giuffre—could still be permissible at trial.

The prince could still settle with Giuffre, one of Epstein’s most vocal accusers, to avoid a trial that would be embarrassing for the British royal family.

If a trial goes ahead, it would likely be scheduled for late 2022.

Key Background

Giuffre has accused Andrew of raping her on three occasions before she turned 18. Andrew has denied all wrongdoing, but in 2019 stepped back from his role as a senior working member of the royal family over his friendship with Epstein, who died by suicide while awaiting trial for sex trafficking that same year. Late last month, disgraced British socialite and media heiress Ghislaine Maxwell—who is believed to have introduced Andrew to Epstein—was found guilty of sex trafficking girls as young as 14 for Epstein, although the revelation last week that one juror may not have disclosed that he is the victim of sex abuse could lead to a mistrial. Giuffre was referred to in court multiple times during Maxwell’s trial, but did not testify. Two victims mentioned Andrew in their testimonies: one said she flew on a private plane with him and another claimed Maxwell bragged about her friendship with the prince. Neither accused Andrew of committing any crimes.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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