A lawyer for the Duke of York has argued for the civil claim against the royal to be thrown out by claiming that the woman who has accused him of sexual assault has a “tortured interpretation” of the law.
Hollywood-based lawyer, Andrew Brettler is known for having represented many high-profile people that had been accused of sexual assault.
He stated that Virginia Giuffre, who is suing the Queen’s son for alleged sexual assault, has said that some of the offences fall outside the jurisdiction of the New York Child Victims Act (CVA) that she is relying on because they happened outside New York state.
The CVA created a 12-month window for individuals to file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for alleged sexual abuse they suffered as children.
Because of the pandemic, the deadline has been extended by one year.
Ms. Giuffre is suing the Duke of York for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She is seeking unspecified damages, that could run into millions of pounds.
She claims she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law. Prince Andrew has denied all the allegations.
In legal papers lodged with the New York court, Mr Brettler said 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.
A lack of consent is established as a matter of law for those aged under 17, but those between 17 and 18 – as Ms. Giuffre was when she alleges the sex assaults took place – a “lack of consent” could be established by an “implied threat”.
Mr. Brettler argued the only people who could verify the “purported” threats were Ms. Giuffre, disgraced billionaire financier Epstein, who is deceased, his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently on trial for sexual offences, and Prince Andrew.
His assertion appears to be a claim that there was no one who could independently corroborate her version of events.
Epstein was found dead in his cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial at a New York federal jail. His death was ruled a suicide, but there have been conspiracy theories that he was murdered.
Maxwell, who was his partner, has a brother called Ian who claimed last week that his sister believes Epstein was killed.
Mr. Brettler added: “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.
“This is not a reasonable mechanism to address the injustice of child sexual abuse in New York.”
Mr. Brettler also raised the issue of the location of the alleged offences, with one claimed to have happened in the UK – in Maxwell’s townhouse in London.
In the documents, he argued: “But the CVA applies only to sexual offences occurring in the State of New York.
“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.”