CAUSE Andrew will face a court battle with sex abuse accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre after a judge launched an attempt to stop the case.
The Duke of York is being sued for rape after being accused of sexually abusing her accuser when she was 17 years old.
However, Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over the video hearing in New York, ruled that the lawsuit would be allowed to continue.
It was a blow to the Duke, who has already been damaged by questions about his friendship with twisted pair Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
Virginia claims she was trafficked by the sick duo to be abused by Andrew after meeting him at a London nightclub.
It is alleged that she was taken back to Ghislaine’s house when she was forced to have sex with the Royal Family, who was 41 years old at the time.
Andrew vehemently denies all the charges against him – and claims he has no recollection of meeting Virginia.
He also claimed he was unaware of any wrongdoing by his friends Maxwell and Epstein.
The duke – who reportedly did not attend Tuesday’s hearing and is awaiting brief notice from his lawyers – is currently facing a major legal battle.
Andrew could face a trial that could see him taken to a US court to be impeached – and a fast-paced parade of witnesses related to the charges.
This will be the latest and greatest embarrassment to the Royal family over the incident.
The Duke’s efforts to get the case resolved were based on a secret 2009 payment agreement signed by Virginia and Epstein.
His attorneys have tried to say that this defense agreement – which saw Einstein pay compensation to a sex abuse victim – excludes Andrew from legal action.
In it, she agreed to cease all action against the “second party”, but did not name the Duke.
Virginia’s settlement has been kept private – but judges last month ordered it to be released yesterday unless “good cause” could be given otherwise.
And her lawyers have successfully argued that the settlement should not stop her case against Andrew.
They previously said the deal was an attempt by Andrew to use a “free pass from prison”.
And at Tuesday’s hearing, the duke’s lawyer Andrew Brettler was caught with skepticism at most turns as he delivered his argument, with judge Lewis Kaplan telling him at one point. point: “It’s not a dog that’s going to hunt here.”
Mr Brettler argued that a £371,000 secret deal newly revealed between Virginia and the late financier Epstein in 2009 freed the royal family from any legal action.
And he said the settlement led to a similar lawsuit from Andrew’s accuser being dismissed.
Mr Brettler told the court: “A ‘potential defendant’ is someone who could be named as a defendant in the case but is not.
“I think there’s no doubt that Prince Andrew could have been sued in the 2009 Florida case. He wasn’t. “
But Judge Kaplan seemed to disagree on the “potential” interpretation, saying: “It’s a word neither you nor I can find any meaning.”
Andrew’s attorney argued that his client should be protected because Ms Giuffre mentioned “royalties” in the civil complaint against Epstein.
The judge pointed out that the word settlement could mean that both Epstein and Ms Giuffre must agree on whether it could be used to free other potential defendants.
“If someone gets sued and Jeffrey Epstein says he’s eligible for release, that’s fine with Ms Giuffre,” he said. . . Epstein can enforce it – but can’t. ”
Virginia’s lawsuit is the first time Andrew has faced action against her claims – which she first went public in 2011.
Speaking to Mr Brettler, the judge said: “You know, it’s certainly my duty to accept the well-substantiated factual allegations of the complaint.”
He said, reading from the allegations: “During this encounter, Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew forcing the plaintiff, a child, to have sex with Prince Andrew against her will”.
The judge added: “I must assume the truth of this allegation.”
They had also previously warned that she may be creating “false memories” with her claims.
Virginia, now 38, claims she was seduced by the Duke of York’s close friend Maxwell and lured into paedo Epstein’s sick sex pyramid scheme.
She alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times – in London, New York and on Epstein’s Little St James island.
Her legal team argued that she was a “fearful, vulnerable child with no one there to protect” when she was accused of abuse by Andrew, saying “nobody, not even the President or Prince, above the law”.
Andrew was named as the sole defendant in the lawsuit, which was brought under the New York State Child Victims Act, but Epstein and Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.
She is seeking unspecified damages and punitive damages over the charges.
Virginia claims she feared for her life when she was allegedly forced to have sex with Andrew, who was allegedly aware of her age and status as a “sex trafficking victim”.
Court documents allege that Ms Giuffre was lent by convicted sex offender Epstein “for sexual purposes, even while she was still a minor under US law.
The documents add that the alleged assault “caused, and continues to cause, substantial mental and psychological distress and harm to her”.
“Prince Andrew’s actions, described above, constitute an extreme and outrageous conduct that is shocking to the conscience,” the lawsuit states, as it describes the emotional suffering Ms Giuffre has suffered. contain.
“The sexual abuse of a child by Prince Andrew who he knew was a victim of sex trafficking, and when he was approximately 40 years old, exceeded all possible limits and could not be tolerated in a civilized community,” it added.
In a popular Newsnight interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis in November 2019, Andrew denied claims he had slept with Ms Giuffre and said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her.
He also said he no longer remembers the famous photo of himself with his arm around Virginia’s waist at Maxwell’s home, and has questioned whether the photo has been edited.
The aftermath of the interview saw the royal being criticized for showing a lack of empathy for Epstein’s victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with the disgraced financier.
Andrew has previously pledged to assist in any investigation into his former friend, but there has been a protracted war of words between his team and US prosecutors over the level of support he offers. provided them.
Epstein hanged himself in his cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
And meanwhile Maxwell faces the possibility of jail time for the rest of her life after she is convicted for her role in the conspiracy.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17217850/prince-andrew-virginia-roberts-lawsuit-go-ahead-2/ Prince Andrew WILL face court battle with accuser Virginia Roberts as judge rules rape case will proceed