LONDON — Britain’s High Court agreed on Wednesday to intervene in a sexual assault lawsuit towards Prince Andrew, clearing the best way for him to reply a authorized declare in the United States that he sexually abused a minor whereas a visitor of Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, has denied the allegations, and his American lawyer contended on Monday that the lawsuit, introduced by Virginia Giuffre, was “baseless, nonviable and potentially unlawful.” The lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, additionally argued that authorized papers had not been correctly served on his shopper in Britain.
The High Court, which mentioned it was responding to data offered by Ms. Giuffre’s legal professionals, agreed to serve the papers on Andrew if the 2 events didn’t work out a approach to accomplish that. Andrew has been visiting the queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, making that course of extra sophisticated.
The allegations towards Andrew, 61, referred to as the Duke of York, have led to his exile from official duties and have solid a shadow over the royal household. Royal watchers mentioned the household was bracing itself for damaging disclosures in each the Giuffre lawsuit and a forthcoming trial of Mr. Epstein’s longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell.
Mr. Epstein, a intercourse offender and a distinguished financier, killed himself in jail in 2019 whereas awaiting trial on intercourse trafficking prices.
The prince’s legal professionals in Britain had no touch upon the High Court’s ruling, and Mr. Brettler didn’t reply to an e mail searching for remark.
Ms. Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, mentioned that the lawsuit was now possible to transfer alongside extra rapidly and that it was inevitable Andrew would have to reply Ms. Giuffre’s declare in New York.
“Further delaying tactics I don’t think will serve him well,” Mr. Boies mentioned in an interview, including that even when the prince managed to delay the case for a month or two, it might not assist him and would solely focus extra consideration on the matter.
“Refusing to accept service, ducking service, hiding in the palace just makes him look bad,” Mr. Boies mentioned. “I don’t understand sort of what playbook they’re using.”
In her lawsuit, Ms. Giuffre, 38, claimed that Andrew sexually abused her at Mr. Epstein’s mansion in New York and on Mr. Epstein’s personal island, Little St. James, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ms. Giuffre additionally mentioned in the go well with that Andrew, together with Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell, pressured her to have sexual activity with the prince in Ms. Maxwell’s dwelling in London.
Mr. Epstein, 66, who was arrested in July 2019, was discovered lifeless by hanging a month later in his jail cell in Manhattan; the loss of life was dominated a suicide. Federal prosecutors have accused him of recruiting dozens of underage ladies to have interaction in intercourse acts with him at his Manhattan mansion and his Palm Beach property, and paying them hundred of in money afterward.
Ms. Maxwell, who was arrested in July 2020, faces trial in November on prices that she helped Mr. Epstein recruit, groom and sexually abuse underage ladies. In one case, she has been charged with intercourse trafficking a 14-year-old lady.
Andrew has not been charged with any crimes.
Mr. Brettler, the prince’s U.S.-based lawyer, argued on Monday earlier than a federal choose in Manhattan that his shopper had not been correctly served with authorized papers in Britain and that Ms. Giuffre’s lawsuit may in any case be invalid below the phrases of an earlier confidential settlement that they mentioned she had reached with Jeffrey Epstein.
“We have significant concerns about the propriety of this lawsuit,” Mr. Brettler advised Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Judge Kaplan, nonetheless, mentioned there was “a pretty high degree of certainty that he can be served sooner or later” and instructed the events transfer on to the substance of the case.
Mark Landler reported from London, and Benjamin Weiser from New York. Susan C. Beachy contributed analysis.