New York justice on Wednesday rejected Prince Andrew’s appeal against the complaint of an American who accuses him of sexual assault. If they do not find a financial agreement, the son of Queen Elizabeth II could well be tried in civil.
Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that Prince Andrew’s request to dismiss the Virginia Giuffre complaint filed last summer should be “refused in all respects”. The victim claims to have been sexually assaulted by the prince in 2001, when she was 17, in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands. The 38-year-old American who now lives in Australia put the case back in the spotlight a few months ago, by filing a complaint in New York against Prince Andrew.
She accuses Andrew in particular of having been a member of the entourage of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, the latter having been convicted in December of sex trafficking, who allegedly delivered her to him for him to sexually abuse her. A case that taints the royal family, and on which Buckingham Palace still refuses to speak.
No criminal prosecution
For now, Prince Andrew, who has always firmly denied the facts with which he is accused, can appeal this decision of the Manhattan federal court. The defense in particular advanced the fact that in 2009, Virginia Giuffre had signed an agreement with Jeffrey Epstein in which she assured not to prosecute him, as well as “other potential defendants”, against a sum of 500,000 dollars. An agreement that Judge Kaplan considered “ambiguous” and “far from being a model of clarity and precision in its drafting”.
If all remedies in its power fail, and no financial agreement is found between the two parties, a civil trial could be held “between September and December” of this year. Judge Kaplan reiterated that the decision he rendered on Wednesday was in no way intended to determine whether Virginia Giuffre’s statements were true or false.
Furthermore, the complaint lodged by the alleged victim cannot be converted into criminal proceedings. U.S. prosecutors will be able to prosecute Prince Andrew if they believe a crime may have been committed, but this seems unlikely, experts say.