Judge rules sexual assault lawsuit against Prince Andrew can move ahead

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By Eric Levenson and Brian Vitagliano | CNN

A federal judge in New York on Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against Prince Andrew filed by Virginia Giuffre, a woman who alleges she was sexually trafficked to the royal when she was underage.

“Ms. Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘unintelligible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous,’” Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in the ruling. “It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.”

Giuffre alleged in the lawsuit that the late financier Jeffrey Epstein trafficked her and forced her to have sex with his friends, including the Prince, and that Andrew was aware she was underage (17) in the US at the time. She alleges the Prince sexually abused her at Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands, at his mansion in Manhattan and at his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell’s home in London.

Prince Andrew has denied the allegations and had moved to dismiss the suit. CNN has reached out to his attorneys for further comment.

The ruling sets up a dramatic series of legal proceedings for Queen Elizabeth II’s third child that could have major ramifications for Buckingham Palace. The long-running allegations against Andrew, 61, have already dramatically tarnished his public standing, and he stepped back from royal duties in late 2019.

Andrew has until July 14 to potentially answer questions about the case under oath, following a ruling made by Kaplan last year. If the case is not settled, Prince Andrew could face a trial date between September and December 2022.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, saying, “We would not comment on what is an ongoing legal matter.”

Giuffre’s attorney Sigrid McCawley said the judge’s ruling is “another important step in Virginia’s heroic and determined pursuit of justice as a survivor of sex trafficking.”

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The civil suit stems from the sprawling and disturbing allegations against Epstein, the wealthy sex offender who befriended a series of powerful men despite a sketchy history.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to state prostitution charges and in July 2019 was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges. Prosecutors accused him of carrying out a decades long scheme of sexual abuse of underage girls, flying them on private planes to his properties in Florida, New York, New Mexico and the US Virgin Islands. He died by suicide in prison before he could face trial.

Maxwell, his former girlfriend and close associate, was arrested in 2020 and accused of facilitating the abuse scheme. A federal jury convicted her in December on five federal counts, including sex trafficking a minor and conspiracy.

Giuffre was not one of the four women who testified in Maxwell’s trial that they had been abused. Still, she was mentioned in the trial when Carolyn, one of the victims, testified that Giuffre had recruited her to come to Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, Florida.

What the ruling means

Kaplan’s ruling Wednesday allowed the lawsuit to continue, but he did …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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