New York, Feb 15 (EFE).- Attorneys for Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre, an American woman who accused the British royal of sexually assaulting her when she was a minor, said in a joint court filing Tuesday that the parties have reached an out-of-court settlement and plan to file to dismiss her civil lawsuit.
“We write jointly with counsel for defendant to advise the Court that the parties reached a settlement in principle … and anticipate filing a stipulation of dismissal of the case within 30 days,” the filing signed by Giuffre’s attorney, David Boies, read.
“In the interim, the parties request that the Court suspend all deadlines and hold the action in abeyance.”
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, had earlier denied Prince Andrew’s motion to dismiss Giuffre’s lawsuit and allowed the litigation to proceed, paving the way for a potential civil trial in the fall.
In that ruling made public on Jan. 12, Kaplan rejected the argument by Prince Andrew’s legal team that a 2009 settlement reached between Giuffre – now 38 and living in Australia – and late American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein also shielded the 61-year-old Duke of York from litigation.
The decision was handed down after a hearing in early January in which the attorneys for the second son of Queen Elizabeth II noted that language in that settlement deal, through which Giuffre received $500,000, released both Epstein and other “potential defendants” from liability in future lawsuits.
Prince Andrew’s lawyers said that latter category included their client, but Kaplan ruled that the wording of the 2009 agreement was ambiguous and that the case should proceed.
Giuffre has alleged that she was the victim of sex trafficking by Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial, and his longtime confidante, British former socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted late last year of luring teenage girls for sexual abuse.
In her lawsuit against Prince Andrew, she said she was forced by Epstein and Maxwell to have sex with the royal on three occasions at the age of 17 – in London, New York and on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean.
The settlement includes a stipulation that Prince Andrew will “make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights,” the parties said in a joint statement attached to Tuesday’s court filing.
The Duke of York, whose military affiliations were stripped away last month by Queen Elizabeth II, has vehemently denied all sex-abuse accusations.
“Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks. It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years,” the joint statement read.
“Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others.” EFE