Sunday, 19 Sep 2021

Prince Andrew’s lawyer challenges Virginia Giuffre’s team over sex claims

Andrew Brettler, a lawyer representing Prince Andrew, has called a lawsuit accusing the royal of sexual assault "potentially unlawful" in a pre-court hearing.

Mr Brettler reportedly challenged Virginia Giuffre's legal team's case, the woman who claims she was coerced by Jeffrey Epstein as a teen to have sex with Prince Andrew. Ms Giuffre is suing him over sexual assault allegations.

Prince Andrew has vehemently denied all the allegations.

Mr Brettler has denied claims that his client had been served with court papers, reports the Mirror.

Earlier today Ms Giuffre's lawyers claimed to have served legal papers.

The legal counsel, who represents Ms Giuffre, say in a filing that the civil lawsuit was handed to a Metropolitan Police officer who was on duty at the main gates of The Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park, on August 27 at 9.30am.

The document says this is "consistent with the provisions for service upon an individual defendant, under Section 6 of the Civil Procedure Rules, as required by the Supreme Court of Judicature in England & Wales".

Blackfords, who said they represent the duke "in certain UK matters", raised questions in an email on September 6 about how the papers were served.

In a document, they wrote: "We reiterate that our client reserves all his rights, including to contest the jurisdiction of the US courts (including on the basis of potentially defective service)."

They added Ms Guiffre's claim may not be viable, citing a 2009 release in a separate court case in Florida.

However, representatives for Ms Giuffre stated in a court document that the assertion regarding the 2009 release was an "erroneous suggestion".

A US judge will ultimately determine whether the papers were properly delivered. Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York will hold the first pretrial conference in the case via teleconference on Monday.

Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew's former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the duke, when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.

In documents filed to the US district court for the southern district of New York on Friday, the lawyers state there was a first attempt to serve the papers on August 26, when an agent went to Windsor Great Park.

They state that an officer, who was the head of security, told the agent that officers were not able to accept service of any court process or let anyone trying to serve legal papers onto the property.

The agent returned the next day and was told the court process could be left with the police officer at the main gate "and that this matter would then be forwarded on to the legal team".

The document says the complaint, the summons and other papers were enclosed "in a plastic sleeve and then in an A4 envelope, addressed to the said defendant, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, at the address" and then left with the police officer.

It says within 21 days of the summons the plaintiff must be served an answer to the complaint, and "if you fail to respond, judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint".

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