A Manhattan federal judge appeared poised to allow a sex-abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew move forward after a remote hearing Tuesday morning.
During the court session, a lawyer for the Duke of York and an attorney for accuser Virginia Giuffre argued over language in a settlement agreement inked in 2009 that Andrew’s lawyers have said shield him from legal liability.
The secret agreement, which was unsealed Monday, was signed by millionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and Giuffe in 2009. Andrew’s lawyers have said it blocks Giuffre from taking legal action against “other potential defendants,” including the embattled royal.
Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over the case, said at Tuesday’s hearing that there could be a number of interpretations of the language – and raised another passage in the agreement that bars third parties from using it.
“The defendant in this case … is within the category of people who are not entitled to use the terms of the settlement,” Kaplan said as he was listening to an argument by Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies.
Boies replied, “The very terms of the contract preclude …” before Kaplan interrupted, “Use by a third party.”
Boies responded, “Exactly, which is Prince Andrew.”
Kaplan said he would issue a decision in writing later Tuesday about Prince Andrew’s motion to dismiss the suit.
In her lawsuit, Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew at least three times — in London, New York and on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean. Guiffre was directed to engage in the sex acts by Epstein and his cohort Ghislaine Maxwell – and was a minor on at least two of the occasions, the papers say.
In one instance, Maxwell made Giuffre to sit on Andrew’s lap while he touched her in Epstein’s New York mansion, according to the suit.
“During this encounter, Maxwell forced Plaintiff, a child, and another victim to sit on Prince Andrew’s lap as Prince Andrew touched her. During his visit to New York, Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff to engage in sex acts against her will,” the suit states.
Giuffre “feared death or physical injury to herself” if she disobeyed Epstein and Maxwell’s orders, the suit states.
Maxwell was convicted of sex trafficking and other counts Dec. 29 in Manhattan federal court. She faces up to 65 years in prison at her sentencing.
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