an unsettling settlement
Lawyers for Prince Andrew have asked a U.S. court to dismiss Virginia Giuffre's sexual harassment lawsuit, claiming that the suit violates a recently unsealed 2009 settlement between Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein, BBC reports.
Giuffre alleges that Epstein, a convicted sex criminal who died in prison in 2019, trafficked her and forced her to have sex with Andrew while she was still a minor.
Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty last month of procuring underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse.
According to the terms of the settlement, which the court unsealed Monday, Giuffre dropped her lawsuit against Epstein in exchange for $500,000. The settlement also stipulated that Giuffre not pursue legal action against "any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant."
The prince's lawyers argue that Andrew ought to be considered one of those "potential defendant[s]."
Giuffre attorney David Boies disagrees, CNN reported. Bois said the prince "could not have been a 'potential defendant' in the settled case against Jeffrey Epstein both because he was not subject to jurisdiction in Florida and because the Florida case involved federal claims to which he was not a part."
During oral arguments Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan appeared to side with Boies, offering unsympathetic responses to the arguments presented on Andrew's behalf by his lawyer Andrew Brettle, The Associated Press reports.
If Giuffre's case is allowed to proceed and the parties fail to reach a settlement, Andrew could face trial in late 2022.