A federal judge in New York has denied Prince Andrew’s efforts to dismiss the sexual assault lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a longtime Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell accuser who says the British royal sexually assaulted her when she was underage, new court papers show.
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan threw out the British Duke of York’s motion to dismiss Giuffre’s suit, writing in an opinion made public Wednesday that his lawyers had failed to successfully challenge the constitutionality of the lawsuit Giuffre filed against him in August.
Attorney’s for the Duke did not respond to Fox News’s request for comment on Wednesday. Giuffre attorney Sigrid McCawley called Kaplan’s decision “another important step in Virginia‘s heroic and determined pursuit of justice as a survivor of sex trafficking.”
Andrew’s lawyers argued that the lawsuit lacked specificity and was disqualified by a deal she reached in 2009 with lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein. That 2009 settlement of a lawsuit was reached a decade before Epstein was found hanged to death at a federal detention center in Manhattan, where he was awaiting a sex trafficking trial.
But Kaplan wrote that there were substantial indications in the $500,000 settlement that Epstein and Giuffre did not clearly intend for language in the deal to “directly,” “primarily,” or “substantially” to benefit someone such as the prince. He noted that the prince was not a party to the agreement.
The judge noted that “nothing” in Andrew’s attorneys’ motion or in past proceedings “may be construed as indicating a view with respect to the truth of the charges or countercharges or as to the intention of the parties in entering into the 2009 Agreement.”
“It is not open to the court,” Kaplan wrote, to determine what Giuffre and Epstein had actually meant and agreed upon through the 2009 settlement.
Kaplan added that the court’s job with regard to the motion to dismiss was “simply to determine whether there are two or more reasonable interpretations of that document. If there are, the determination of the “right” or controlling interpretation must await further proceedings.”
He determined that the 2009 agreement is “reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation” in terms of whether Andrew may apply it.
“This Court cannot rewrite the 2009 Agreement to give the defendant rights where the agreement does not clearly manifest an intent to create them,” he continued.
Giuffre has long claimed that Andrew, son to Queen Elizabeth, sexually assaulted her in 2001, when she was 17 years old. Andrew has repeatedly denied the allegations in the lawsuit.
The civil suit accused Andrew of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times on orders from Epstein and his longtime confidante, Maxwell.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted in December of sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Fox News’ Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.