At a hearing in Manhattan U.S. District Court on Monday, attorney for Prince Andrew Brettler also said plaintiff Virginia Giuffre appeared to have waived her right to sue Queen Elizabeth’s second son in 2009 during the resolution of a separate lawsuit.
Giuffre, 38, said Andrew’s alleged abuse happened around 20 years ago, when financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused him. Andrew, the Duke of York, has denied Giuffre’s accusations.
“This is a baseless, unsustainable and potentially illegal trial,” Los Angeles-based Brettler said at a telephone court conference.
“There was a settlement agreement that the plaintiff entered into in a prior action which releases the Duke and others from any potential liability,” Brettler added.
Brettler also said Giuffre failed to properly serve Andrew under UK law and the Hague Convention, including when a bailiff left a copy on August 27 with a police officer guarding Royal Lodge, the prince’s house in Windsor, England.
Giuffre’s lawyer denied this request. “We served him well,” David Boies told US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan.
Kaplan ordered Boies to come up with alternative means to serve Andrew and rejected Bretter’s argument that Hague Convention procedures had to be “exhausted” before US procedures were applied. The next conference was scheduled for October 13.
Andrew, 61, is a former friend of Epstein, a registered sex offender who committed suicide in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 after US prosecutors charged him with the sexual exploitation of dozens of girls and women .
The prince has stepped down from royal duties and has seen charities and other organizations distance themselves from him after he gave a BBC interview in November 2019, now widely regarded as disastrous, regarding his relationship with Epstein.
Giuffre’s lawsuit puts Andrew in a difficult position as he could be held in default and owe damages if he ignores him or faces years of legal battles defending himself in court.
According to the August 9 complaint, Andrew forced Giuffre to have unwanted sex at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and longtime partner of Epstein.
The complaint also stated that Andrew abused Giuffre at Epstein’s mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and on a private island owned by Epstein in the US Virgin Islands.
In a September 6 letter, a London-based lawyer for Andrew suggested that Giuffre’s lawsuit could be dismissed because she signed a discharge in 2009 in a separate Florida case covering “claims against persons associated with Jeffrey. Epstein ”.
Gary Bloxsome, of UK law firm Blackfords, said lawyers for Andrew should review the release and determine its scope.
“Until we have made this decision, it is difficult for us to give any advice as to whether the Duke should voluntarily accept the service,” he wrote.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges that she aided Epstein’s sexual abuse. She faces a trial scheduled for November 29 before U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan.