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Prince Andrew again seeks dismissal of sexual abuse suit, demands a trial if it's not

Britain's Prince Andrew appears at the Royal Chapel at Windsor following the death announcement of his father Prince Philip in April 2021.
Steve Parsons/Pool Photo
/
via AP, file
Britain's Prince Andrew appears at the Royal Chapel at Windsor following the death announcement of his father Prince Philip in April 2021.

NEW YORK — Prince Andrew's lawyers asked a U.S. court again Wednesday to throw out a lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse, citing multiple legal defenses.

Among them: The lawyers said that if any sexual activity did occur between the prince and Virginia Giuffre, it was consensual.

The court filing made clear that Andrew wasn't admitting sexual contact with Giuffre. But it said if the case wasn't dismissed, the defense wants a trial in which it would argue that her abuse claims "are barred by the doctrine of consent."

Attorney David Boies, representing Giuffre, responsed in a statement asserting Andrew "continues his approach of denying any knowledge or information concerning the claims against him, and purporting to blame the victim of the abuse for somehow bringing it on herself."

The defense request was filed in federal court in Manhattan, where Giuffre sued Andrew in August. The American accused the British royal of sexually abusing her when she was 17 while she traveled with financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew has strenuously denied Giuffre's allegations and attempted to get the lawsuit tossed. Earlier this month, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected his attempt to win an early dismissal, allowing depositions and other evidence gathering by both parties to move forward.

Wednesday's response was filed by Los Angeles attorneys Andrew Brettler and Melissa Lerner. They say the suit should also be dismissed on several other grounds, arguing the civil litigation against the prince should be barred because Giuffre is a permanent resident of Australia and bound by a settlement between Epstein and Giuffre.

Giuffre asserted that she met Andrew while she traveled frequently with Epstein between 2000 and 2002, when her lawyers maintain she was "on call for Epstein for sexual purposes" and was "lent out to other powerful men," including Andrew. Her lawsuit said she still suffers significant emotional and psychological distress and harm.

In the wake of the judge's decision earlier in January, Prince Andrew — who had already stepped back from royal duties — was stripped of his honorary military titles.

Epstein, 66, took his own life in a Manhattan federal lockup in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. Giuffre has also leveled allegations at Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's longtime companion, but was not part of the criminal case that ended recently with Maxwell's conviction on sex trafficking charges.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they choose to come forward publicly, as Giuffre has.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press