By Chris King •
Updated: 04 Jun 2022 • 15:54
The Prince Andrew sex abuse trial began today, Tuesday, January 4, with a virtual hearing in Manhattan, New York. Judge Lewis Kaplan heard one hour’s worth of arguments from the legal team representing the Duke of York’s accuser, Ms Virginia Roberts Guiffre.
The judge is expected to make a decision as to whether the case should be thrown out of court, but he has refused to be rushed into anything, and vowed to make up his mind ‘pretty soon’. In the meantime, he instructed both sides to continue as normal with the process of sharing documents with each other.
A settlement that was unsealed yesterday, Monday 3, by Judge Kaplan, is the key to what the Duke’s legal team hope will see the case dismissed. The document is an agreement made between Ms Guiffre and the late paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. As a result of signing the settlement, the now 38-year-old Ms Guiffre received $500,000 (€442.87) from Epstein’s estate.
Andrew B Brettler, the lawyer leading Prince Andrew’s legal team is hoping that a clause in the said document can see the case dismissed.
He is depending on the clause in the settlement that reads, ‘Hereby release, acquit, satisfy, and forever discharge the said Second Parties and any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant (‘Other Potential Defendants’) from all, and all manner of, action and actions of Virginia Roberts’.
While there is no actual mention of Andrew by name, the document does stipulate ‘other potential defendants’.
During the virtual hearing, Mr Brettler told the judge that a ‘potential defendant’ was, “someone who was not named as a defendant but could have been”. This would mean somebody who Ms Guiffre knew that she had “claims against at the time that she filed the lawsuit”, in 2009.
Judge Kaplan said “potential” was a phrase that neither he nor Mr Brettler could “find any meaning at all” in. Mr Brettler pointed out to Judge Kaplan that Ms Guiffre could have sued the Duke at the time, but didn’t, and requested that she “lock herself into a story now” and provide further and more precise details of her allegations.
Judge Kaplan responded to say that was not a requirement at this stage of the process and “just isn’t the law”.
Ms Guiffre brought the case against Prince Andrew in a federal court. She is claiming that in 2001, at the age of 17, she had been forced into having sex with him on three occasions, after being trafficked by Epstein. His accuser says that she suffered from emotional distress and battery.
These accusations against him have always been vehemently denied by the Duke of York, with his legal teal insisting Ms Guiffre is simply looking for ‘another payday at his expense’, as reported by dailymail.co.uk.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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