ECONOMY

Prince Andrew’s lawyer: New York claim is ‘baseless and unviable’


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awyers for the Duke of York have said a woman who accuses him of sexually assaulting her when she was still a teenager has a prior agreement “releasing the duke and other from any and all potential liability”.

Virginia Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend, and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, to have sex with the duke, when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.

The 61-year-old royal is one of the most prominent people linked to Epstein who US prosecutors charged in July 2019 with sexually exploiting dozens of girls and women.

Epstein, a registered sex offender, killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail on August 10, 2019.

Giuffre has accused Andrew of forcing her in 2001, when she was 17, to have unwanted sexual intercourse at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and Epstein’s longtime associate.

Giuffre also said Andrew abused her at Epstein’s mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and on a private island Epstein owned in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Andrew has denied Giuffre’s claims of sexual abuse.

In a BBC Newsnight interview in 2019, Prince Andrew said he had never had sex with Ms Giuffre, saying: “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.”

The duke said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her and that there were “a number of things that are wrong” about her account.

He has also suggested a photo showing him with his arm around Ms Giuffre may have been doctored.

At the pre-trial hearing, Andrew B Brettler, for the duke, said Ms Giuffre has previously entered into a “settlement agreement” that would nullify her current lawsuit.

Mr Brettler told the US district court for the southern district of New York: “We believe this is a baseless, unviable and potentially unlawful lawsuit that the plaintiff has filed against the Duke.

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