Judge in Prince Andrew case takes jab at former US president

Judge Lewis Kaplan said there could be no doubt about what the word ‘intercourse’ means, at least ‘since someone else was in the White House’

Nathan Place
New York
Tuesday 04 January 2022 21:02
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Prince Andrew’s lawyers ask New York court to throw out sex abuse claims

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The judge at the Prince Andrew hearing appeared to take an unexpected sideswipe at a former US president, though he did not specify which one.

Prince Andrew’s lawyers are currently working to fend off a sexual assault lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre, who says the convicted sex criminals Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell “forced” her to have “sexual intercourse” with the Duke of York – an accusation that Andrew adamantly denies.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, the prince’s lawyers argued that this language was not detailed enough, but Judge Lewis Kaplan disagreed.

“It was sexual intercourse,” the judge said, according to Newsweek reporter Jack Royston. “Involuntary sexual intercourse. There isn’t any doubt about what that means, at least not since someone else was in the White House.”

It’s possible the judge was referring to former president Bill Clinton, who famously denied that he had had “sexual relations” with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky, sparking a national debate about what those words meant. He could also have been referring to Donald Trump, who faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. (Mr Trump has denied the allegations.)

On Twitter, journalists struggled to understand what the judge meant.

“A Bill Clinton joke from a Clinton appointee?” wondered Fox 5 New York reporter Mike Sacks.

Others transcribed the comment with the hashtag “#BillClinton.”

This week, Prince Andrew’s lawyers are fighting to dismiss Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit on the grounds that a 2009 settlement between her and Epstein, which was unsealed on Monday, protects him from liability.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyers, meanwhile, have argued that the settlement does not mention Prince Andrew by name and is “irrelevant to Ms Giuffre’s claim” against him.

On Tuesday, the two sides also argued over whether Ms Giuffre should be forced to lay out her accusations in more detail. On that point, Judge Kaplan sided with Ms Giuffre, quoting the following paragraph from her complaint:

“On one occasion, Prince Andrew sexually abused Plaintiff at Maxwell’s home. During this encounter, Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff, a child, to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will.”

This was the language that Prince Andrew’s attorneys called unclear.

“We don’t know what the conduct was,” attorney Andrew Brettler said, according to Inner City Press.

Judge Kaplan rejected this argument, making his quip about the former president. He also used an old-fashioned American idiom.

“With all due respect, Mr Brettler, that’s a dog that’s not going to hunt here,” the judge said.

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