Andrew’s lawyers believe case may end after gaining access to ‘settlement agreement’
Prince Andrew: Expert on 'tarnishing image' of legal case
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The Duke of York, 61, is in the midst of a legal battle against Virginia Giuffre, 38, who claims she was sexually assaulted by the royal when she was just 17. The Queen’s son has vehemently denied the claims against him.
Andrew B Brettler, who represents the royal, had argued at a previous hearing that Ms Giuffre had entered a “settlement agreement” with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
If such an agreement has been entered it would end Ms Giuffre’s current lawsuit, he claims.
During the first pre-trial hearing of the case last month, the Duke’s lawyer said: “There has been a settlement agreement that the plaintiff has entered into in a prior action that releases the Duke and others from any and all potential liability.”
On Wednesday in New York, US District Judge Loretta Preska granted permission for the Prince’s lawyers to receive the agreement.
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This will allow the royal’s lawyers to review the 2009 settlement agreement between Epstein and Ms Giuffre.
The precise wording of the agreement is currently confidential and sealed by a court.
However, David Boies, Ms Giuffre’s lawyer, had previously said the agreement was “irrelevant to the case”.
“Although we believe that the release is irrelevant to the case against Prince Andrew, now that service has been accepted and the case is proceeding to a determination on the merits, we believe that counsel for Prince Andrew have a right to review the release and to make whatever arguments they believe appropriate based on it,” the attorney said.
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Epstein’s estate had agreed to hand over the confidential files to the royal, but court approval was required.
Ms Giuffre has accused the Duke of York of sexually assaulting her in three different locations, including Epstein’s longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell’s London residence.
She also has claimed the royal assaulted her in New York City and in the US Virgin Islands when she was underage.
In 2019, the Prince told BBC Two’s Newsnight programme: “It didn’t happen.”
The royal has an upcoming deadline on October 29 to formally respond to the lawsuit.
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