Legal experts believe that Prince Andrew will eventually be forced to settle with Virginia Giuffre, as the alternative is offering testimony in a public trial.
A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault lawsuit against Prince Andrew.
In his response to the motion, Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected Prince Andrew’s argument that Giuffre’s lawsuit should be voided because of a confidential settlement she had earlier reached with Jeffrey Epstein.
The prince’s counsel had also claimed that Giuffre’s complaint lacked merit, insofar as it was insufficiently specific to withstand legal scrutiny.
Kaplan, however, disagreed, ruling that the confidential settlement could not void Giuffre’s claims and finding that the lawsuit is, in fact, quite specific in its allegations.
“Ms. Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘unintelligible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous,’” Kaplan wrote in his ruling. “It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.”
As LegalReader.com has reported before, Giuffre claims she was trafficked by deceased billionaire and convicted sex predator Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein, along with accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, allegedly trafficked Giuffre to other wealthy men—including Prince Andrew. While the British royal has long denied any association with Giuffre, several photographs released by media show Andrew with his arm wrapped around Giuffre’s waist.
Giuffre was, at the time, underage.
In her complaint, Giuffre says that Andrew abused her on multiple occasions: on Epstein’s private island, in the billionaire’s Manhattan mansion, and Maxwell’s home in London.
According to CNN, the allegations—and their apparent credibility—have severely tarnished Andrew’s reputation. In 2019, for instance, the prince stepped back from all of his royal duties. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth has said that it will neither fund Andrew’s defense nor reimburse him for legal fees.
Mark Stephens, a specialist in international law at Harvard University, told The Associated Press that Buckingham Palace will likely pressure Andrew to quickly resolve the lawsuit—even if it means offering a settlement.
Stephens says that, even though Andrew will likely appeal the latest round of rulings, the prince probably has limited interest in taking the stand to recount his alleged activities with a 17-year-old girl.
“The practical realities of this position have stuck a noose around Prince Andrew’s neck,” Stephens said. “He’s got to settle. He’s got to get out. Or he’s a dead man walking.”
Sarah Krissoff, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, also told NBC News that Andrew will likely be compelled to settle.
“Given Judge Kaplan’s denial of the motion to dismiss and with case now moving into the discovery phase, it would be prudent for Prince Andrew’s team to reconsider and explore the possibility of a settlement,” Krissoff told NBC News over email. “Otherwise, this case is most likely heading towards a very public trial. It is unlikely that Prince Andrew wants that to happen.”