Prince Andrew taking ‘ultimate gamble’ by demanding jury in sex assault trial

Prince Andrew sex assault trial
Prince Andrew said he rejects the accusations and wants to fight them in court (Rex/EPA/Getty/PA)

The Duke of York is taking a risk by ‘putting himself at the mercy of a jury’ in a sex assault civil case, according to royal sources.

Prince Andrew, 61, has officially responded to a lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre, saying he rejects the accusations and wants to fight them in court.

Documents filed on Wednesday said he denies sexually assaulting her when she was under 18 and ‘hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint’.

But a source close to the Royal Family questioned this decision, telling The Mirror: ‘It’s the ultimate gamble.

‘He is putting himself at the mercy of a jury and attempting to distance himself from people like Ghislaine Maxwell, when he is on record discussing their friendship and has known her for decades.

‘This is certainly a huge shift in mood from previous suggestions that everything was ‘in hand’ and questions will certainly be asked about the wisdom of a bullish counter-attack defence so late in the day.’

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Ms Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, accuses Prince Andrew of sexually assaulting her in three different locations between 2000 and 2002.

The alleged locations are the London home of disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein’s New York mansion and Epstein’s private island, Little St James.

The duke submitted 11 reasons why the case should be dismissed, including that Ms Giuffre’s claims are ‘barred by the doctrine of consent’ and by ‘her own wrongful conduct’.

He also denies that he is a close friend of Maxwell, who was convicted of sexual abuse and trafficking of underage girls last month.

In an 11 page document submitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, lawyers for Andrew set out the duke’s response.

The paper sets out a series of defences ‘without assuming the burden of proof, and expressly denying any and all wrongdoing’.

This includes arguments that the claim should be dismissed because Ms Giuffre is a permanent resident of Australia and that by entering into a 2009 agreement with Jeffrey Epstein, she ‘waived the claims now asserted in the complaint’.

Undated handout file screengrab issued by Crime+Investigation of Virginia Giuffre whose lawyers are seeking testimony from two people - the Duke of York's former equerry, Robert Olney, and Shukri Walker, according to court documents. Issue date: Friday January 14, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story COURTS Andrew. Photo credit should read: Crime+Investigation/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
The sex assault civil lawsuit was brought by Virginia Giuffre. (PA)

Andrew issued 41 denials of the allegations and said he ‘lacks sufficient information to admit or deny’ other claims a further 40 times. 

Lawyer David Boies, representing Ms Giuffre, said his client and legal team were anticipating ‘confronting’ the royal about his ‘denials’.

Judge Lewis A Kaplan previously denied the duke’s application to dismiss the case.

After the decision, he said he would fight the case as a private citizen.

But depending on developments, there is still the prospect the duke may reach an out-of-court settlement with Ms Giuffre.

The Queen stripped Andrew of his remaining patronages and honorary military roles as the monarchy distanced itself from the duke ahead of potentially damaging developments in his lawsuit.

Prince Andrew has consistently denied the accusations and is not facing criminal action in the UK or US.

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