An attorney for Prince Andrew argued at a hearing Tuesday that a lawsuit filed against his client by Virginia Giuffre, who alleges the prince sexually abused her, should be dismissed largely because he believes a settlement agreement Giuffre signed with Jeffrey Epstein releases Andrew from legal action.
Andrew’s attorney also argued Giuffre’s lawsuit is not sufficient because it does not detail her abuse, and that the New York state law that allowed her to file the suit decades after the alleged abuse was unconstitutional.
“Ms. Giuffre doesn’t articulate what supposedly happened to her at the hands of Prince Andrew,” said attorney Andrew Brettler.
“We do not know the details of the allegations and it’s time that we do before Prince Andrew should be required to answer these very serious allegations. He should be told what the allegations are specifically.”
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over the case, pushed back on Brettler’s argument, telling him, “That’s not a dog that’s going to hunt here.” Judge Kaplan also read a portion from Giuffre’s complaint where she alleges that, as a child, she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew against her will.
At the heart of Brettler’s argument to dismiss the suit is a settlement agreement Giuffre signed with Epstein in 2009, which was released publicly on Monday.
It showed she settled with the convicted sex offender and disgraced financier for $500,000 and agreed to a general release against Epstein, his predecessors, successors, heirs, attorneys, employees, agents and administrators, as well as against “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant” from future legal action.
Prince Andrew’s name does not appear in the settlement agreement. Brettler argued that the Duke of York is covered as an “Other Potential Defendant.”
“A potential defendant is someone who could have been named as a defendant in that lawsuit (from which the settlement was created) but was not,” Brettler argued. “Prince Andrew was not named.”
Prince Andrew has continually denied all allegations made against him by Giuffre.
David Boies, who represents Giuffre, argued that Prince Andrew was not covered in the general release of the settlement agreement.
“A third party cannot say what the purpose of contract was since they were not party to the contract,” Boies argued. “Prince Andrew didn’t even know about this release until recently.”
Kaplan made comments that appeared to acknowledge Giuffre’s argument that Andrew was not covered in the settlement, saying, “Esptein and Giuffre had an agreement between themselves that there was a release to other potential defendants, but they weren’t to know about it and in any case the only people who could enforce it were Epstein and Giuffre.”
Brettler also argued that a New York state law, which gave victims of child sexual abuse a window to file civil suits over abuse that allegedly took place beyond the statute of limitations, was unconstitutional.
“Prince Andrew should not be dragged into this court 20 years after alleged abuse based on a statute that arbitrarily decided to revive statutes of limitation,” Brettler argued.
“Memories fade, witnesses die – as is very evidenced in this case – witnesses may be incarcerated, documents disappear, documents are destroyed in the ordinary course. People change their testimonies, people forget things. This does not satisfy due process requirements under the New York state Constitution.”
Kaplan said he would make a decision on the motion to dismiss the suit “pretty soon.”