‘This is really quite sad for the Queen’: Prominent figures react to news of Prince Andrew’s sex abuse trial

‘It is a horrible thing to happen in the Queen’s jubilee year,’ says Diane Abbott

Maya Oppenheim
Women’s Correspondent
Thursday 13 January 2022 15:59
<p>American judge Lewis Kaplan rebuffed Prince Andrew’s bid to have the sexual assault lawsuit against him dismissed </p>

American judge Lewis Kaplan rebuffed Prince Andrew’s bid to have the sexual assault lawsuit against him dismissed

A prominent Labour MP has said news Prince Andrew will face a civil sexual assault case in America is “horrible” for the Queen to sit through during her Jubilee year.

Speaking to The Independent , Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said she would not comment further on the case because court proceedings are ongoing.

Ms Abbott’s comments come after it emerged Prince Andrew, the Queen’s 61-year-old second son, will face a civil case over allegations he sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre in 2001 when she was only 17-years-old.

Ms Abbott said: “This is really quite sad for the queen in her platinum jubilee year.

“I wouldn’t want to say more than that. We will only know when the court case is completed. But it is a horrible thing to happen in the Queen’s jubilee year.”

Prince Andrew vehemently denies all the allegations and any wrongdoing.

American judge Lewis Kaplan rebuffed Prince Andrew's bid to have the sexual assault lawsuit against him dismissed – meaning the prince will face a civil sex case trial later this year.

Ms Giuffre, a campaigner who helps sex trafficking victims, accuses Prince Andrew of “sexual assault and battery” against her when she was only 17, as well as alleging she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased disgraced billionaire financier, to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was that age.

Prince Andrew’s lawyers have argued Ms Giuffre, previously known as Virginia Roberts, relinquished her right to sue him due to agreeing to a $500,000 settlement agreement with Epstein.

Mark Stephens, a media lawyer, has said Prince Andrew’s sexual assault trial could potentially spark a “constitutional crisis” for the royal family, adding the monarch has “no good options”.

Mr Stephens told the BBC: “Judge Lewis Kaplan has thrown a reasoned judicial decision like a bomb into the middle and the heart of the royal family and threatens to provoke constitutional crisis as a consequence.”

The lawyer added: “Essentially, I think he's either going to have to engage in the trial process or he's going to have to settle and that may well be his least worst option.”

Other prominent figures weighed in on the news about Prince Andrew’s court case on Twitter.

“Prince Andrew is NOT protected by paedophile Epstein’s Agreement with his victim,” Nazir Afzal, a solicitor who specialises in violence against women and child sexual exploitation, said.

“Agreement only applied to traffickers, not alleged rapists & he wasn’t a party to it! His constitutional argument to save himself would have meant all NY child abusers escaping justice!”

Gary Lineker, a broadcaster deemed to be one of England’s greatest strikers, said: “This court decision will test Prince Andrew’s inability to sweat.”

Lisa Bloom, a US lawyer who specialises in abuse, discrimination, and harassment, noted Prince Andrew had lost in court again.

She said: “Judge rejects his many efforts to get sexual abuse case thrown out on legal technicalities.

“I heard the argument last week and it was clear the judge wasn’t having it. A good day for justice as the case moves forward.”

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