Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre among dozen planned depositions in sexual abuse suit, legal teams tell judge

Giuffre legal team seek testimony from two people in UK

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Wednesday 03 November 2021 19:04

Related video: Met Police ‘drop investigation into Prince Andrew sexual abuse allegations’

Lawyers for both the Duke of York and his accuser Virginia Giuffre have told a federal judge that they plan up to 12 depositions including both parties in the case.

During a brief teleconference, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York asked the legal teams about how many depositions they anticipated, with David Boies, representing Ms Giuffre, responding that it would be between eight and 12.

“Certainly, obviously, the parties,” he added referring to the prince and his accuser.

Representing Prince Andrew, Andrew Brettler said he believed they would need the same “ballpark number”.

Mr Boies added that there are also a number of potential witnesses and that identifying them all could take as long as two months, Law & Crime reports.

He also asked the judge for help in securing testimony from “two people in the United Kingdom where there might be the [need] for a letters rogatory”.

Letters rogatory are a mechanism for securing testimony from someone in a different country to that in which legal proceedings are taking place.

Ms Giuffre sued Prince Andrew in August in a federal lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing her in three locations in 2001, when she was 17 years old.

She alleged that two of the properties, a mansion in New York, and a private Caribbean island, belonged to the late Jeffrey Epstein. The third location is said to be the London home of disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

The suit was filed under New York’s Child Victims Act, which lifts the statute of limitations in cases involving alleged sexual offenses against minors.

Judge Kaplan has ruled that depositions must be completed on or before 14 July 2022.

Last week, Prince Andrew’s legal team asked the judge to throw out the case.

In papers filed in federal court, Mr Brettler said: “Without diminishing the harm suffered as a result of [Jeffrey] Epstein’s alleged misconduct, Prince Andrew never sexually abused or assaulted Giuffre. He unequivocally denies Giuffre’s false allegations against him.”

Mr Brettler asked that the lawsuit, which he described as “baseless”, be thrown out or that lawyers for Ms Giuffre be required to refile the lawsuit with a more definitive statement of her allegations.

“Accusing a member of the world’s best known royal family of serious misconduct has helped Giuffre create a media frenzy online and in the traditional press. It is unfortunate, but undeniable, that sensationalism and innuendo have prevailed over the truth,” the filing said.

“Giuffre has initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense and at the expense of those closest to him. Epstein’s abuse of Giuffre does not justify her public campaign against Prince Andrew,” the written arguments said.

Mr Brettler also believes a 2009 settlement agreement protects his client from being sued. According to the arguments on the prince’s behalf, Ms Giuffre’s settlement that year of sex trafficking and sexual abuse claims against Epstein included a general release of all claims against him and numerous other individuals and entities.

Epstein, a jailed paedophile and sexual abuser, was found dead in his cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial at a New York federal jail. He was ruled to have taken his own life.

Ms Maxwell, who is in custody awaiting trial for allegedly aiding Epstein, told a hearing in court in New York on Monday that she had “not committed any crimes”. Her lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, also maintained her innocence.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in