United Kingdom

US judge deals blow to Prince Andrew's bid to dodge being served his sex abuse case legal papers

A US judge has dealt another blow to Prince Andrew's bid to dodge being served sex abuse legal papers by saying they can be given to his LA based lawyers instead.

He said Virginia Giuffre's plan to deliver them to his US lawyer was 'reasonably calculated to bring the papers served to the defendant's attention'.

District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan it did not matter whether the Duke of York 'authorised' the lawyer to accept them.

The lawyer, Andrew Brettler, had no immediate comment and Ms Giuffre's lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Earlier the Prince had challenged a High Court ruling that he can be served with papers in his US sex case.

In what was being seen as another delaying tactic by the duke, his legal team said it would look to overturn the decision on a legal technicality.

It comes as the Prince's mood has reportedly changed over the past few days and he has become 'worried' and is 'not his usual blasé self'.

He is said to be readying himself for a brutal legal battle that he fears could cost him millions of pounds.

A US judge has dealt another blow to Prince Andrew's (pictured earlier this week at Balmoral) bid to dodge being served legal papers by saying they can be given to his LA based lawyers instead

He said Virginia Giuffre's (pictured) plan to deliver them to his US lawyer was 'reasonably calculated to bring the papers served to the defendant's attention'

District Judge Lewis Kaplan (pictured) in Manhattan it did not matter whether the Duke of York 'authorised' the lawyer to accept them

The Duke, 61, was sued by Giuffre last month, accusing him of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress over alleged misconduct.

Giuffre, 38, was underage at the time of Andrew's alleged abuse, which she said occurred when his friend, the financier Jeffrey Epstein, was sexually abusing her.

She is arguing she was trafficked for sex by Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell while she was 17 and Andrew had sex with her on three occasions.

The civil lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Andrew has denied Giuffre's accusations, and Brettler at a Monday court hearing called Giuffre's case a 'baseless, nonviable, potentially unlawful lawsuit.'

The Royal stepped down from royal duties as details emerged over the last two years about his relationship with Epstein.

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

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts, then 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell are pictured at Maxwell's townhouse in London in 2001

Kaplan ruled barely six hours after Giuffre formally requested his intervention, saying 'service is not intended to be a game of hide and seek behind palace walls.'

The judge issued his order a day after London's High Court said it would arrange for Andrew to be served if the parties failed to work out their own arrangement.

Lawyers for Giuffre argued they already served Andrew in England, when a copy of the lawsuit was left with a police officer guarding the Prince's home in Windsor.

In her lawsuit, Giuffre accused Andrew of having sexual intercourse with her while she was being trafficked for sex by Epstein and Maxwell at the latter's London home.

Giuffre also claims Andrew similarly abused her at Epstein's mansion in Manhattan and on Epstein's private island in the US Virgin Islands.

Maxwell faces a November 29 trial on charges she helped recruit and groom underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse.

She has pleaded not guilty while in custody in the US. Andrew has not been charged with crimes.

Andrew is seen this week at Balmoral next to his Range Rover and the lodge he was staying in

Andrew is being sued by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who accuses him of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She claims to have been trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein 

Earlier yesterday he challenged a High Court ruling he can be served with papers in his US sex case. His legal team said it would look to overturn the decision.

Court papers filed in New York last night show Andrew's lawyers want to argue over the definition of a 'judicial officer', in a possible indication of how he plans to concede no ground in the civil case against him.

But attorneys for his long-term accuser Miss Giuffre yesterday claimed he is playing a 'game of hide and seek behind palace walls'.

The prince is being sued by Miss Giuffre, who claims Andrew had sex with her when she was 17 and a victim of sex trafficking.

In the court claim, she alleges she was trafficked to the duke by Epstein and is claiming damages for rape, sexual assault and battery.

Andrew, who is currently at Balmoral with the Queen, has repeatedly denied the allegations.

His high-powered legal team claim that Miss Giuffre's attorneys do not have the authority to approach the High Court, which this week said it would serve the case papers on the Prince if the two sides failed to agree it themselves.

Andrew's side have argued that David Boies, Miss Roberts' Manhattan lawyer, is not a 'judicial, consular or diplomatic officer' of the US.

The London court originally agreed with the Duke before changing its decision after representations by his opponents, Boies Schiller Flexner (BSF), who cited US law.

But Gary Bloxsome, acting for Andrew, wrote to Senior Master Barbara Fontaine within hours on Wednesday.

He said: 'We contend that your original decision of 14 September 2021 to reject BSF's direct request was correct, and your subsequent decision of 15 September 2021 is wrong.

'We ask that the original decision be restored, and the reasons communicated promptly to BSF.'

Prince Andrew with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson leaving Windsor to drive to the Queen's Balmoral estate in Scotland last week

The judge said she would not 'determine this disputed issue by email' and ordered Andrew to file a proper legal application, which could result in an appeal being heard in court.

But Andrew's argument may prove moot anyway after Mr Boies last night petitioned the New York court to directly contact its London counterpart.

In his bid, Mr Boies wrote: 'Ms Giuffre requests that the court exercise its discretion to order alternate service pursuant.'

The papers were left with police at Andrew's Windsor home, Royal Lodge, and emailed to his lawyers but he disputes they have properly been served upon him.

Her side last night accused him of trying to dodge the case by arguing against service while at the same time looking to build up his defence by asking for a copy of the deal.

In the court papers, they wrote: 'Prince Andrew is both actively evading service of Ms Giuffre's claims... while at the same time attempting to avail himself of discovery in order to aid his defence.'

Andrew also plans to argue that a financial settlement Miss Roberts signed with Epstein in 2009 precludes her from bringing a legal action against him.

But the Duke's hopes of getting the Epstein deal unsealed quickly suffered a blow last night when a judge ruled it would stay under wraps for now.

Last month, Miss Roberts agreed to drop a claim for sexual assault against US lawyer Alan Dershowitz as a result of the settlement.

He has since lodged a request to have the original agreement unsealed, as he believes it may help to get the case against Andrew also thrown out.

But yesterday Judge Loretta A Preska, a senior US district judge, denied his application, saying that Dershowitz's claim had 'no basis'.

The Prince is said to have become 'worried' and is 'not his usual blasé self' amid the allegations.

A source told the Mirror: 'He's not been his usual blasé self, acting like everything is in hand.

'The issue has suddenly become very pressing and there is a distinct tension in the air.

'There has been a dramatic shift in mood and the reality that this could not only go on for many months, if not years, as well as costing potentially millions of pounds is very real.'

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