A new attorney for Britain's Prince Andrew said overnight Tuesday that the royal had not been properly served with a copy of a new lawsuit filed by a woman who says she was coerced into having sex with him at age 17, and that he intends to challenge jurisdiction in the case.
Hollywood attorney Andrew Brettler went on the offensive against Virginia Giuffre, telling a judge in New York that her claim was “baseless, non-viable and potentially unlawful."
Andrew has repeatedly denied the allegations in the lawsuit brought by Giuffre, who said that as a teenager living in Florida she was one of many girls and young women sexually abused by the convicted sex offender and millionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
In her lawsuit and in interviews, Giuffre says she travelled to London with Epstein in 2001 and had sex with Andrew, after a night of dancing, at the home of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
Giuffre has said Epstein paid her $US15,000, then arranged for her to have two more sexual encounters with the prince in New York and the US Virgin Islands.
Giuffre says that after meeting Epstein in Florida in 2000, the millionaire flew her around the world and pressured her into having sex with numerous older men who also included two senior US politicians, a noted academic, wealthy financiers and the attorney Alan Dershowitz.
Dershowitz, now mainly retired in Miami Beach has said that accusations by Virginia Giuffre that they had sex are false.
Dershowitz was one of the lawyers who negotiated a deal allowing Epstein to escape a federal indictment in return for a guilty plea to state prostitution charges in Florida in connection to the dozens of teenage girls authorities say he molested over the years.
But Dershowitz has always denied Giuffre's claims they had sex.
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.
Andrew has denied the allegations, saying in an interview that he doesn’t remember ever meeting Giuffre, though at least one photograph appears to show them together.
Brettler told the judge that the lawsuit against Andrew - who is the Duke of York - is barred by an earlier settlement agreement that remains under seal "releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability.”
He added that Andrew intends to ask Britain's High Court to weigh in on the matter.
Brettler made a procedural argument on Andrew's behalf at the first pretrial conference in the case, saying that Giuffre's legal team hadn't taken the proper steps required to start the case, including providing Andrew with a copy of the lawsuit.
Attorneys for Giuffre say the documents were handed over to a police officer on duty at the main gates of Andrew’s home in Windsor Great Park on August 27.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan didn't immediately rule on the matter, but told the lawyers whatever bureaucratic hurdles regarding service of the lawsuit would be ultimately resolved and that the case would be litigated.
Lisa Bloom, lawyer representing eight of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims said judges would in many cases "give us an alternative so that people can't just continue to hide behind gates and walls and fly out of the country. And I think those alternatives are available in the UK as well."