Prince Andrew’s legal team attempt to get sexual assault lawsuit dismissed over Jeffrey Epstein settlement

The Duke of York’s lawyer Andrew Brettler will on Tuesday attempt to have Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault case dismissed, on the grounds that a $500,000 settlement agreement she signed with convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein in 2009 also protects Prince Andrew from any legal action.

Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit against the Duke claims he had sex with her without consent despite knowing how old she was and that she was a victim of sex trafficking.

Mr Brettler will claim that Ms Giuffre’s that the $500,000 (£371,000) payout was one of a number of financial settlements Ms Giuffre received from Epstein.

Under the 2009 agreement, Ms Giuffre agreed to release Epstein and others in connection with any claims arising out of her allegations of abuse.

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Mr Brettler will claim the Duke falls within the category of “other potential defendants” because Ms Giuffre had identified him as one of her alleged abusers by the time she entered into the settlement agreement, and had specifically referred to “royalty” in her 2009 lawsuit against Epstein.

However, Ms Giuffre’s legal team will claim the settlement is only enforceable in Florida, where it was signed, and only protects Epstein’s sex trafficking co-conspirators, which the Duke has strenuously denied he was.

COURT TIMELINE: Giuffre v Prince Andrew

Virginia Giuffre claims she was trafficked by sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to Prince Andrew when she was 17 (Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP)
Virginia Giuffre claims she was trafficked by sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to Prince Andrew when she was 17 (Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP)

Tuesday 4 January: Lawyers for Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew will argue whether the civil case should be dismissed in a New York court following the release of Ms Giuffre’s $500,000 settlement agreement with convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein from 2009.

Friday 14 January: Should Judge Lewis Kaplan reject the initial request to dismiss the case, his legal team will attempt to have the case dismissed again, this time based on Ms Giuffre not being domiciled in the US. She has lived and raised a family in Australia for the past 19 years, though her legal team will argue she still intends to return to the US, where she remains a citizen.

End of January: Should Judge Kaplan once again rule in favour of Ms Giuffre on the domicile issue, the court will specify a date between September and December for the civil case to go to trial before a jury.

Autumn 2022: Should Prince Andrew lose, he would have to pay Ms Giuffre substantial damages, running into millions of pounds. If Ms Giuffre’s loses her case against the Duke, she may seek to launch another action in another US state court.

Judge Kaplan is expected to rule on the claim to dismiss within days.

Should the Duke’s legal team fail in its bid to use the settlement agreement to have the case dismissed, Mr Brettler is expected to seek for it to be dismissed again later this month on the grounds that Ms Giuffre is not domiciled in the US.

In order to bring a federal lawsuit in the US, one of the parties involved must reside in the country.

While Mr Giuffre has lived and raised a family in Australia for the past 19 years, her legal team will claim she is only required to show she intends to return to the US, where she remains a citizen, to show she is domiciled there.