London, ENGLAND – Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday that Great Britain’s Prince Andrew had been stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronages just one day after a U.S. judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan for the Southern District of New York said on Jan. 12 that Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against the royal, whom she has accused of sexually abusing her when she was 17 years old, could proceed, NBC News reported.
Attorneys for His Royal Highness Prince Andrew had tried to block the lawsuit earlier in January by releasing the details of a $500,000 settlement Giuffre had taken from Epstein to not to bring further legal action.
Epstein allegedly committed suicide while he was being held in a Manhattan jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite, was convicted on Dec. 29, 2021 of sex trafficking juveniles for Epstein.
Prince Andrew’s attorneys had previously argued that Giuffre had no grounds to file the lawsuit in the United States because she now resides in Australia, NBC News reported.
Kaplan also rejected that motion to dismiss.
Giuffre, now 38, has accused Epstein and Maxwell of forcing her to have sex with Prince Andrew on multiple occasions in the 1990s, NBC News reported.
Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son has denied the allegations.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, told BBC in a 2019 interview that he had “no recollection” of ever having met Giuffre and suggested the notorious picture of him and the young girl with Maxwell may have been doctored, NBC News reported.
Giuffre’s lawsuit accused Prince Andrew of having abused her in London, in New York, and on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, all before she turned 18 years old.
Kaplan said on Wednesday when he allowed the case to go forward that it was premature for the prince to try to cast doubt on the woman’s story and said he would have the opportunity to do so at trial, NBC News reported.
Sarah Krissoff, a former federal sex trafficking and crimes against children prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, said Prince Andrew should think about settling with Giuffre before the case goes to trial.
“Given Judge Kaplan’s denial of the motion to dismiss and with case now moving into the discovery phase, it would be prudent for Prince Andrew’s team to reconsider and explore the possibility of a settlement,” Krissoff told NBC News in an email. “Otherwise, this case is most likely heading towards a very public trial. It is unlikely that Prince Andrew wants that to happen.”
Giuffre’s legal team applauded the judge’s decision, NBC News reported.
“Ms. Giuffre is, of course, pleased that Prince Andrew’s motion to avoid a trial has been denied, and that the evidence will now be taken concerning her claims,” attorney David Boies said. “She looks forward to a judicial determination of the merits of those claims.”
Buckingham Palace announced on Jan. 13 that Prince Andrew had been stripped of some of his royal duties and affiliations, NBC News reported.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” the palace’s statement read. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”