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Prince Andrew demands jury trial in Giuffre case

Virginia Giuffre says Prince Andrew sexually abused her at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell.

Virginia Giuffre says Prince Andrew sexually abused her at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell.

Prince Andrew has asked for a US jury trial as he again denied Virginia Giuffre’s accusations that he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17.

Ms Giuffre, 38, sued the Duke of York last August, alleging he battered her while the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.

In a filing with the US District Court in Manhattan, the prince, 61, admitted to meeting Epstein in or around 1999, but denied Ms Giuffre’s claim that he “committed sexual assault and battery” upon her.

David Boies, a lawyer for Ms Giuffre, said in a statement on Wednesday (local time) that Andrew was trying to “blame the victim.”

“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms Giuffre for her own abuse,” Mr Boies said.

Andrew’s ties to Epstein, who took his own life in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges, have undermined his reputation with the public and standing in the royal family.

Earlier this month, the family removed Andrew’s military links and patronages, and said the second son of the Queen would no longer be known as His Royal Highness.

Andrew’s filing was an “answer”, a common document in US litigation in which defendants deny or say they lack enough information to comment on plaintiffs’ substantive accusations.

The prince’s lawyers had previously called Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit “baseless” and accused her of seeking another payday.

Ms Giuffre, who now lives in Australia, received $US500,000 ($698,000) in a 2009 civil settlement with Epstein.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan has said a trial could begin between September and December.

If Ms Giuffre won at trial, Andrew could owe her damages. She has asked for an unspecified amount.

Andrew has not been criminally charged, and no criminal charges can be brought in Ms Giuffre’s civil lawsuit.

This month Judge Kaplan denied Andrew’s earlier request to dismiss Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit, which the prince said he was shielded from under the 2009 Epstein settlement.

Andrew renewed that argument in Wednesday’s filing, and also said Ms Giuffre lacked legal standing to sue because she lives in Australia.

-AAP

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