Lawyers acting for Britain’s Prince Andrew have argued for the civil sexual assault claim against the royal to be thrown out, claiming his accuser has a “tortured interpretation” of the law she is relying on.
Andrew B Brettler, acting for the prince, also stated Virginia Giuffre – who is suing the Queen’s son for alleged sexual assault – claims some of the offences happened outside New York state and beyond the jurisdiction of the New York Child Victims Act she is relying on.
The CVA created a 12-month window for individuals to file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for the alleged sexual abuse they suffered as children.
The deadline was later extended by one year because of the pandemic.
In legal papers lodged with the New York court, Mr Brettler argued that under the CVA, claims were revived for those who allegedly suffered harm, due to certain sexual offences, when they were under the age of 18, even though the age of consent in New York is 17.
For those aged under 17, a lack of consent is established as a matter of law. For those between 17 and 18 – as Ms Giuffre was when she alleges the assaults took place – a “lack of consent” could be established by an “implied threat”.
But Mr Brettler argued that the only people who could verify the “purported” threats were Ms Giuffre, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein who is now dead, his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell – who is being tried for sexual offences – and the Duke of York.
“According to Giuffre’s tortured interpretation of the CVA, it revives civil claims for plaintiffs who allegedly suffered sexual abuse when they were 17 years of age or older based solely on the unverified [and unverifiable] contention that they did not consent to those acts,” he said.
“This is not a reasonable mechanism to address the injustice of child sexual abuse in New York.”
Ms Giuffre, who now lives in Australia and is sometimes known by her married name of Roberts, is suing the prince for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
She claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
Prince Andrew denies all the allegations.
Epstein was found dead in his cell at a New York federal jail in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial.
Mr Brettler also raised the issue of the location of the alleged offences, with one claimed to have happened in Britain.
“But the CVA applies only to sexual offences occurring in the state of New York,” he argued in the papers.
“To the extent Giuffre’s causes of action are based on conduct taking place elsewhere, they fail to state a claim and must be stricken.”