The Duke of York “cannot hide behind wealth and palace walls” and must respond to sexual abuse allegations filed in a US court, his accuser’s lawyer told BBC Two’s Newsnight.
Prince Andrew should allow a jury to decide what happened, David Boies, the lawyer of Virginia Giuffre, said. Ms Giuffre has filed a civil case in New York alleging the duke sexually assaulted her when she was 17. The duke has consistently denied the claims.
A spokeswoman for the duke said there was no comment on the civil case. Mr Boies said Ms Giuffre had “tried every way she can to resolve this short of litigation”.
He said Ms Giuffre – who was an accuser of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein – now wants a judge and jury to hear the evidence.
Mr Boies added that “at this point litigation is the only way to establish once and for all what the truth is – and litigation is the only way to establish once and for all what Prince Andrew’s evidence actually is”.
The lawyer said people “ignore the courts at your peril” and that “it would be very ill-advised for Prince Andrew to ignore judicial process”.
“If he does, it will be a default judgement against him that will be, in effect, enforced not only in the United States, but in virtually every civilised country in the world,” he said.
Mr Boies said Ms Giuffre intends to send a message to rich and powerful men that the alleged behaviour “is not acceptable and that you cannot hide behind wealth and power and palace walls”.
He said she wanted to be compensated for damage she said was done to her and donate money to a charitable foundation to help victims of sex trafficking.
But asked what figure he had in mind, he said that was for a jury to decide – but they would seek compensatory and punitive damages and he believed each would be “substantial”.
The civil proceedings taking place in New York will proceed even if the duke and his legal team do not engage. Prince Andrew does not face the prospect of an extradition hearing as this only applies to criminal charges and not civil cases.
The complaint claims Prince Andrew sexually abused Ms Giuffre – then known as Virginia Roberts – at the London home of Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and at Epstein’s homes in Manhattan and Little St James in the US Virgin Islands.
It alleges the duke engaged in sexual acts without her consent, knowing how old she was and “that she was a sex-trafficking victim”.
The case also says the “extreme and outrageous conduct” continues to cause Ms Giuffre, now 38, “significant emotional and psychological distress and harm”.
“In this country no person, whether president or prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection,” the documents read.
“Twenty years ago Prince Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her. It is long past the time for him to be held to account.”
Court documents allege Prince Andrew and his representatives rejected requests to provide “whatever facts, context or explanation he might have, and to explore alternative dispute resolution approaches”.
Speaking about Ms Giuffre’s allegations in 2019, Prince Andrew said he could not remember meeting her.
“It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” he said.
In a later statement, Prince Andrew said: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.
“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
Ms Giuffre’s claim was filed under New York State’s Child Victims Act, which allows alleged survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file a case which had already been time-barred or expired.
- A BBC report