May 22, 2022

Accused of sexually assaulting a minor, Prince Andrew requests a civil trial in New York

A probable civil trial in New York for Prince Andrew: accused of sexual assault, the second son of Queen Elizabeth asks to defend himself before a jury for acts he allegedly committed in 2001 on a minor American at the era.

In a documented document made public on Wednesday, January 26, by his lawyers and the Manhattan Federal Court, “Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all grounds asserted in the complaint” in civil proceedings filed in August 2021 by Virginia Giuffre, 38, who accuses the prince of having sexually assaulted her three times in 2001.

In Andrew’s entourage in London, we confirm: “it just means the case will be settled in court”.

After multiple attempts in recent months to block and dismiss Giuffre, Prince Andrew, 61, who lives deprived of any official role and deprived of all his military titles, therefore seems to have resolved to be tried in civil court, in a trial which will inevitably have a huge impact for the British royal family. .

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Andrew did not

As he always has them “categorically” denied, Prince Andrew contests point by point in the legal document of his lawyers the accusations of Mme Giuffre. The latter, born Virginia Roberts and who now resides in Australia, was the victim of the American financier Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in prison in 2019, and of his British accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, found guilty in December in New York of sex trafficking of minors.

Prince Andrew is accused by Mme Giuffre of sexual assaults in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands, residences of sexual predator couple Epstein-Maxwell, when she was 17.

The increasingly likely prospect of a civil trial in New York does not preclude the two parties from finding a financial compensation agreement. Although Giuffre, David Boies, had warned two weeks ago on the BBC that a simple transaction would not satisfy his client.

According to the British press, the prince recently settled a dispute over a debt of 6.6 million pounds sterling (nearly 8 million euros), which will allow him to sell a chalet in Switzerland that he had acquired in 2014 , for a sum which would amount to 18 million pounds (21 million euros).

A trial in New York could be held at the end of the year.

Civil trial at the end of 2022?

In the fall of 2021, Manhattan court judge Lewis Kaplan, who on January 12 rejected the last princely appeal, said that a civil trial would take place. “between September and December” 2022.

According to New York lawyers, Andrew will first have to give a sworn statement in the office of a lawyer, probably in the United Kingdom, and answer questions from American counsel for the plaintiff. Her answers will then be submitted as evidence before a jury to decide on financial compensation for the complainant. According to experts, the prince will certainly have to appear at one time or another, otherwise he will risk being tried in absentia and in a manner “unfavorable”.

On the other hand, the civil complaint of Virginia Giuffre cannot be automatically converted into criminal proceedings for sexual crimes. Even if nothing prevents in the future that US federal prosecutors bring criminal charges against Andrew if they believe that he may indeed have committed a crime and that he is not barred.

The World with AFP