Prince Andrew’s Lawyers 'Have a Plan How to Dodge Virginia Roberts Giuffre Rape Suit'
© AP Photo / Steve ParsonsBritain's Prince Andrew attends the Sunday service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor, following the death announcement of his father, Prince Philip, in England, Sunday, April 11, 2021.
© AP Photo / Steve Parsons
Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged “sex slave” Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit against the Queen’s second son Prince Andrew last month, accusing the royal of raping her at the age of 17 when she was just a “frightened, vulnerable child”.
The Duke of York has been served court documents naming him as a defendant in the Virginia Roberts Giuffre rape case but lawyers for the embattled royal are claiming that the procedure was not done properly and are planning to boycott the upcoming court hearing, the Daily Mail reported.
Prince Andrew is said to have received the papers on 27 August, after weeks of avoidance, a legal team for Virginia Roberts Giuffre said in a new court filing.
How They Tried to Reach the Duke
A London-based “process server”, Cesar Augusto Sepulveda, filed an affidavit on 10 September detailing that he first went to Prince Andrew’s Windsor mansion, Royal Lodge, on 12 August to hand him the papers. His attempts to get closer to the Duke were apparently thwarted by Metropolitan Police officers, who told him that they were “instructed not to allow anyone attending there for the purpose of serving court process on the grounds of the property”. Sepulveda said that he was “advised” at that time that no papers left for the Duke would be forwarded to him.
However, over two weeks later, he made another attempt to reach the Duke and was finally able to leave the court documents with the Met officer who was on duty at the mansion’s gate, the filing cited by the Daily Mail reads.
The serving has apparently been ratified according to rules established by the Supreme Court of England and Wales but hasn't been confirmed by Buckingham Palace or Prince Andrew’s legal team.
A lawyer for Virginia Roberts Giuffre, David Boies, said they'd made a massive effort trying to hand the papers to the Duke, both through the post and e-mails. Boies argued that his legal team had forwarded copies of the summons to five different lawyers, believing that they could be the ones representing the Queen’s son. The legal team also emailed some copies to the Duke’s public email and via a same-day courier service and regular post to his Royal Lodge.
Despite Boies claims that they did everything they could to make sure the summons have been “properly served”, the Prince’s team still found these measures “objectionable” and “regrettable”, according to a court letter obtained by ABC News.
Prince Andrew’s lawyer Gary Bloxsome reportedly said in a letter addressed to British judicial official that Roberts Giuffres’ lawyers “have made several public, indeed well-publicised, attempts at irregular service of these proceedings in this jurisdiction, in at least one case accompanied by a media representative”.
The lawyer also said that British legal procedures require that a request for assistance from a UK court official must originate from a judicial or diplomatic officer in the US in order to be regarded as valid.
© Photo : Florida Southern District CourtPrince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell. This photo was included in an affidavit in which Giuffre alleged that she was directed to have sex with Andrew
Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell. This photo was included in an affidavit in which Giuffre alleged that she was directed to have sex with Andrew
© Photo : Florida Southern District Court
Bloxsome wrote that if such a request will be made by the judge overseeing the case, "then it is likely that our client will be content to agree to a convenient method of alternative service".
The solicitor, however, indicated in the letter that at the moment his firm is not involved in the Roberts Giuffre rape case.
It’s not clear whether the Duke’s representatives will turn up for the Monday hearing on the case that will be done through a conference call before a Manhattan judge.
It’s up to US district judge Lewis Kaplan who will oversee the hearing to decide whether the serving has been official.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre maintains she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on the orders of Epstein and his then-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell at least three times when she was young and “vulnerable”. According to the woman, she was still 17 when it happened the first time in Maxwell’s London home.
In August, Roberts Giuffre, now 38, filed a civil lawsuit against the Prince, accusing him of rape, sexual assault and battery. The Prince has not commented on the suit and has kept a low profile through this summer, as he was making back and forward trips to his mother’s Balmoral estate in Scotland.
The Duke’s lawyers reportedly believe that Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s civil lawsuit against the prince was not valid in the first place and can be dodged on a technicality: a 2009 confidential settlement Virginia Roberts Giuffre reached with Epstein in Florida. The document has potentially prohibited her from taking any legal actions against individuals she's since identified as the financier’s associates.
As such, US lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who was long accused by Roberts Giuffre as being Epstein’s co-conspirator, said this week that he strongly suspected that “Virginia and her lawyers may have committed fraud on the court by filing a lawsuit against Prince Andrew” after dismissing the battery case against the lawyer.
“The same reasons for dismissing the case against me seem to apply to Prince Andrew,” Dershowitz explained. “These documents should get the charges against Prince Andrew thrown out. It's an airtight defence for Prince Andrew and a potential fraud on the court.”
Roberts Giuffre’s lawyers, however, claim that there is “no evidence Prince Andrew was intended to be covered by the release”.
The Duke of York maintains that he has “no recollection” of ever meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre or having sex with her, despite an existing photo which shows them together.