Looks like the royal family can’t sweep this scandal under the rug!
According to reports, a judge in New York refused to throw out the sexual assault case against Prince Andrew after the Duke of York’s lawyers requested to have it shut down.
That means the Queen’s son has to either settle with accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre or deal with a trial in nine months, where a court will look into the claims that Giuffre was repeatedly forced to have sex with him when she was just 17 and was trafficked by his former friends, Jeffrey Epstein and convicted felon Ghislaine Maxwell.
If they can’t reach a settlement, the ninth in line to the throne could be interviewed by Giuffre’s lawyers in a videotaped deposition in London that might be played in court; however, Andrew can’t be forced to give evidence because this is a civil suit in a different legal jurisdiction.
The prince’s lawyers tried to argue that her case should have been thrown out because of a freshly-unsealed $500,000 settlement with Epstein. Attorney Andrew Brettler argued the settlement protected Andrew because it contained a clause where she agreed not to take legal action against “potential defendants.”
But Judge Lewis Kaplan denied the motion to dismiss the complaint, claiming the court wasn’t at this point able to consider the Duke’s efforts to cast doubt on Giuffre’s claims, or whether he was covered by the settlement agreement.
Suggesting these were issues for a trial, he said in his ruling:
“The 2009 Agreement cannot be said to demonstrate, clearly and unambiguously, the parties intended the instrument ‘directly,’ ‘primarily,’ or ‘substantially,’ to benefit Prince Andrew. The law prohibits the Court from considering at this stage of the proceedings the defendant’s efforts to cast doubt on the truth of Ms Giuffre’s allegations, even though his efforts would be permissible at trial. In a similar vein and for similar reasons, it is not open to the Court now to decide, as a matter of fact, just what the parties to the release in the 2009 settlement agreement signed by Ms Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein actually meant.”
Giuffre’s lawyer said she was “pleased” that “evidence will now be taken concerning her claims against [Andrew],” adding in a statement:
“She looks forward to a judicial determination of the merits of those claims.”
Sources close to the royal told Page Six that Andrew — who has denied all claims and said he can’t recall ever meeting his accuser — is determined to “clear his name.” The insiders noted that while the decision to settle with Giuffre is still on the table, it’s “not an option being considered at the moment.”
Meanwhile, the 61-year-old is facing losing not only the remainder of his military honors, but potentially his royal title amid the legal drama.
Although he was forced to stand down from public duties in November 2019, the prince remains colonel of the Grenadier Guards. He’s also still being referred to as “His Royal Highness” on the royal family site, where he’s listed as being a patron or member of about 100 charities.
This is apparently something that’s gotten people inside the palace talking. A highly placed royal source told The Post:
“How does Andrew get to keep his HRH title when he’s embroiled in this mess, [but] Harry and Meghan are banned from using theirs just for leaving everyday working life? I’m fairly sure that’s the exact same question being asked inside the palace. They have to do something with today’s news [about the lawsuit moving forward] — they can’t just sit at their end and ignore it. They can’t keep the status quo, they have to do something.”
It’s worth mentioning that while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle retained their “HRH” titles following their royal departure, they can’t use them officially.
Last August, it was reported the Queen had “let it be known” she wanted her son to keep the title. That’s apparently still the case, according to royal commentator and biographer Christopher Warwick, who told Sky News on Wednesday there was “a feeling across the regiment that it’s not appropriate to retain him. It puts her in an invidious situation but, of course, as his mother, what she’s not going to do is turn her back on him.”
Majesty Magazine managing editor Joe Little echoed that sentiment to The Post, explaining that while his military titles should be relinquished, he didn’t think “the HRH will be affected.” He shared:
“As far as Andrew’s concerned, the honorable thing would be to relinquish his remaining military titles. Clearly this case is going to drag on and on and on … Out of respect for the military and the other institutions he’s associated with, the time has now come for him to distance himself — and for him to do it himself rather than having the titles taken away from him… I don’t think the HRH will be affected, I’m sure the Queen won’t take it away from him any more than she didn’t take it away from Harry.”
What do U think will happen?
[Image via BBC]