The British royal will have to make himself available for questioning before July 2022.
An American judge has ordered Prince Andrew to make himself available for questioning in a sexual assault lawsuit filed in U.S. district court.
According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, based out of Manhattan, found that Andrew must respond to deposition requests no later than next July.
Andrew, adds Reuters, is suspected of participating in the late Jeffrey Epstein’s child trafficking ring. In her lawsuit, plaintiff Virginia Giuffre, now 38, claims that the British royal forced her into sexual intercourse more than two decades ago.
Giuffre alleges that she met Andrew on several occasions: at Epstein’s mansion in New York City, the billionaire’s private estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and at the London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
While Andrew and his counsel have “categorically” denied Giuffre’s claims—and has repeatedly said he has either not met Giuffre, or cannot remember meeting her—several photographs in public circulation show Andrew with his wrist wrapped about Giuffre’s waist.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions,” Giuffre said shortly after she fled the lawsuit. “I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice.”
Reuters says that Andrew is expected to review—and potentially revive—a 2009 settlement between Giuffre and Epstein.
The agreement, says Giuffre’s attorney, “releases Prince Andrew and others from any purported liability arising from the claims Ms. Giuffre asserted against Prince Andrew here.”
The settlement, part of a sexual abuse complaint against Epstein, had several non-disclosure clauses and could bar Giuffre from speaking out against Andrew.
U.S.-based attorney Andrew Brettler, who is representing the royal, has repeatedly said that Giuffre’s lawsuit is “baseless.” He has also requested that any of his arguments which reveal aspects of the non-disclosure agreement between Epstein and Giuffre be redacted and removed from public view.
Brettler, notes The Guardian, contended that neither Andrew nor Giuffre have said that the agreement must remain sealed. However, he asks that the documents remain secret because they are subject to a protective order issued by the judge presiding over a similar civil action in New York.
Andrew, adds The Guardian, told the B.B.C. in a 2019 interview that the alleged encounters between himself and Giuffre never happened.
Earlier this month, British police said they will not take any action against Andrew after reviewing Giuffre’s claims. They also said they will not take action after hearing arguments that Epstein’s purported accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, groomed, trafficked, and abused women in the United Kingdom on Epstein’s behalf.
Andrew, as LegalReader.com has reported before, unsuccessfully attempted to avoid being served the lawsuit until a U.S. court obliged his attorney to accept it on his behalf.