Guardian- Prince Andrew has denied that he was a co-conspirator of Jeffrey Epstein, and insisted on a jury trial in Virginia Giuffre’s sexual abuse lawsuit against him, his lawyers said in court papers filed on Wednesday.
“Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint,” his lawyers wrote. The Duke of York also denies that Epstein “trafficked girls to him”, the attorneys said in their legal filings.
These statements were filed as part Giuffre’s ongoing legal proceedings against the Duke of York in Manhattan federal court. Giuffre has long alleged that Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell forced her into a sexual encounter with the senior British royal 20 years ago, when she was 17.
Giuffre has alleged that Andrew engaged in sexual misconduct with her on other occasions. Her 9 August lawsuit cited alleged battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Andrew’s denials were part of his “answer and affirmative defenses” to Giuffre’s civil complaint against him. In the 11-page document, Andrew denied wrongdoing, but he did say in this document that he met Epstein “in or around 1999”.
Andrew’s lawyers said that he “lacks sufficient information to admit or deny” Giuffre’s prior allegations that Epstein was a “widely renowned as a billionaire who used his vast connections to powerful individuals, and seemingly unlimited wealth and resources, to create a web of transcontinental sex trafficking that served himself, his coconspirators, and some of the most powerful people in the world”.
His counsel also said that Andrew lacked “sufficient information to admit or deny” Giuffre’s contention that Maxwell was “the highest-ranking recruiter in Epstein’s sex-trafficking enterprise”.
Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was apprehended in July 2019 for sex trafficking girls as young as 14. He killed himself about one month later in a Manhattan jail, while awaiting his sex-trafficking trial.
Maxwell, daughter of the British press baron Robert Maxwell, was found guilty of sex trafficking and related charges in December for luring girls as young as 14 into Epstein’s abusive orbit.
Prince Andrew has denied all allegations of misconduct.
In the prince’s response paperwork, his lawyers also listed some reasons why they believe Giuffre’s case should not stand.
They reiterated their unsuccessful claim that Giuffre’s 2009 settlement with Epstein – which included a release for third parties – shielded Andrew from litigation. They also repeated their position that Giuffre brought her complaint too long after the alleged misconduct, barring her from suing.
Andrew’s lawyers also listed “consent” and the “doctrine of unclean hands” – which is an allegation that Giuffre has acted unethically related to the accusations – among his defenses. “Giuffre’s alleged causes of action are barred in whole or in part by her own wrongful conduct,” they wrote.
The new filing came amid seemingly mounting legal woes for the embattled prince.
Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on 12 January that Giuffre’s suit could go forward. Shortly thereafter, a woman who may have seen Andrew with Giuffre at a London disco the night he allegedly abused the then-teen said she was “willing” to provide testimony.
“I am proud to represent Shukri Walker, who has bravely stepped forward as a witness and encourages others who may have information to do so as well,” the woman’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, said in an email. “She is willing to do the deposition Virginia Giuffre’s team is seeking.”
Giuffre’s lawsuit, coupled with heightened scrutiny on his ties to Epstein and Maxwell, has proved disastrous for Andrew.
Buckingham Palace said in a 13 January statement: “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
Asked for comment on Andrew’s filing, Giuffre’s lawyers said in a statement: “Prince Andrew’s Answer continues his approach of denying any knowledge or information concerning the claims against him, and purporting to blame the victim of the abuse for somehow bringing it on herself.
“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms Giuffre for her own abuse at his deposition and at trial,” their statement also said.