Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

The Duke of York’s lawyers have been given permission to review a 2009 settlement they believe will end Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault lawsuit against him.

US district judge Loretta Preska agreed that Prince Andrew’s legal team could receive a copy of the agreement made between Ms Giuffre and the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Ms Giuffre has sued Prince Andrew in New York and accused him of sexually abusing her when she was 17 years old.

The prince has not been charged with any crime and has strongly denied the allegations made against him.

Epstein’s estate had agreed to let Prince Andrew’s lawyers look at the agreement, but the judge’s approval on Wednesday was also required.

Prince Andrew’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, had argued at a previous hearing that Ms Giuffre’s “settlement agreement” with Epstein would end the lawsuit against the Queen’s second son.

“There has been a settlement agreement that the plaintiff has entered into in a prior action that releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability,” said Mr Brettler at the case’s first pre-trial hearing last month.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies was granted permission by the judge to provide the agreement, but has said that it is “irrelevant to the case against Prince Andrew”.

The 2009 settlement agreement is related to a Florida state case, which did not involve Prince Andrew.

Ms Giuffre, 38, has accused Prince Andrew of forcing her to have sex at the London home of Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell.

She has also claimed that she was abused by the prince at Epstein’s Manhattan home and on his private island in the US Virgin Islands.

Prince Andrew has a 29 October deadline to respond to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

Epstein, a registered sex offender, killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Ms Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to helping recruit and groom underage girls for Epstein to abuse.

Her trial is set to go ahead in Manhattan on 29 November.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Wizadclick | WAC MAG 2021