Prince Andrew now faces a choice between settling a sexual abuse dispute with Virginia Roberts Giuffre or a potentially devastating court battle in which he is likely to be questioned about his sexual history.
A New York judge sensationally ruled that the Queen’s second son could be tried on charges of sexually assaulting Miss Roberts when she was 17 – allegations that Andrew categorically denied.
Experts believe that Andrew, who earned the nickname “Prince Playboy” as a bachelor, will want to reach an out-of-court settlement and a potentially multimillion-dollar settlement with his plaintiff, or he will want to bring his private life to the forefront. in the blockbuster process in nine months.
However, there have been suggestions that Miss Roberts, who claims she was trafficked by British Socialist Ghislaine Maxwell and forced to have sex with Epstein and his companions when she was a minor under US law, may not be prepared to accept the agreement.
Witnesses, including Sarah Ferguson and Princess Beatrice, could be asked to testify, said Miss Roberts’ lawyer, David Boies.
It is likely that the Duke will be asked to testify under oath as part of the process of discovering what is known as deposition. However, he cannot be forced to come to New York to defend himself because it is a civil dispute in another jurisdiction.
Andrew could simply refuse to acknowledge his existence – but the court would then pass judgment in his absence, risking even greater damage to his already damaged reputation.
The following steps could be performed as follows:
Judge Lewis A Kaplan’s decision is a huge blow to Andrew, who now faces the need to testify in public court
First, how did the judge decide?
Judge Kaplan dismissed Andrew’s lawyer’s motion to drop Miss Roberts’ lawsuit for sexual abuse.
The duke’s team unsuccessfully argued that Miss Roberts waived her right to prosecute the duke by signing a confidential agreement with Epstein.
The settlement, published earlier this month, details how Miss Roberts received a $ 500,000 payout in 2009 and agreed to the “release, release, satisfaction, and permanent release” of Epstein and “any other person or entity that may have been included as a potential defendant.” “. ‘.
Andrew B Brettler, the duke’s lawyer, argued that his client was a “potential defendant,” as defined in the agreement, and that the case should “be dismissed.”
But in his decision, Judge Kaplan said the agreement was “impossible” in favor of Andrew. He emphasized that his decision did not express any opinion on the veracity of Miss Roberts’ allegations.
At present, the case is on its way to court and a finding (“a formal process of exchanging information between the parties about witnesses and evidence they will present in court”) is already under way.
According to Judge Kaplan’s timetable, both parties must publish their expert witnesses by May 13, complete the revelation on July 14, and file a petition before the trial by July 28 – which would include whether either party wants a jury trial.
There is a good chance that these deadlines will be changed.
What are the Duke’s legal options?
In addition to litigation, the duke has a number of legal options, including:
Appeal against today’s verdict: Andrew could have filed a reconsideration motion with Judge Kaplan and asked him to reconsider his decision. Or he could go straight to the appellate court of the second district, where it would be heard by a panel of judges.
If they also reject his proposal, he could ask the second complete second circuit to consider it. Another option would be to go directly to the Supreme Court, which would then decide to hear the case or not.
Applying for release: He could try to dismiss the case by arguing that it cannot be heard in a US federal court because he and Miss Roberts – who is a US citizen but live in Australia – reside abroad.
Compensation: Most U.S. court cases end with an out-of-court settlement before the case goes to court. She could try to obtain an apology or confession as part of the settlement, but Andrew has always vigorously denied the allegations.
Default: Andrew ignores the summons, which means the court will rule in his absence.
Virginia Giuffre (seen with her lawyer, David Boies) accuses the royal family of sexual assault when she was 17, accusations he has always vehemently denied.
Will Andrew try to settle?
It is likely that the Duke will be asked to testify under oath as part of the process of discovering what is known as deposition.
If there are no further proposals to dismiss the case, the duke would have to reach an agreement with Mrs Giuffre.
This is usually a financial settlement where both parties go back and forth until the number is reached.
Experts said Andrew was a ‘dead man walking’ and would want to make a deal with Miss Roberts.
Media lawyer Mark Stephens said Wednesday’s decision to face Andrew’s sexual assault trial “threw a bomb” into the heart of the royal family and threatened to provoke a constitutional crisis.
He told the BBC that a crisis of this magnitude was unprecedented for the royal family.
“Prince Andrew has nowhere to go.” As for the royal family, he is basically a dead man who walks, “he said. “But all he can do is accept responsibility, accept guilt, accept that he must fall on his sword because of the wider royal family.”
The duke denies the allegations made against him.
What are the chances that the duke is trying to settle?
Initiates say that the option “stays on the table.”
Andrew’s team recognizes that it recognizes the “attractive impact” the case has on the royal family, especially as the Queen is due to celebrate her platinum anniversary in June with the threat of a scandalous sexual process that hangs over her.
“Obviously, this is an American case involving American lawyers and a civil lawsuit in the United States,” one source said. “In fact, 99 percent of U.S. civil litigation is settled out of court. The settlement would always be on the table, because the vast majority will end there. Wider pressure and impact on wear also need to be considered. “
Sources familiar with the case had previously told the Mail that there had been no discussion yet as to whether the Queen’s son could – or should – agree to a settlement without being held accountable. But even that was not ruled out as a possibility, they said.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment, calling it an “ongoing legal matter.”
On the one hand, agreeing to the settlement would prevent Andrew from having a humiliating experience interviewing Miss Roberts’ lawyers, who will be able to ask him questions about everything from his sexual partners to the details of his dealings with Epstein and Maxwell, who was found guilty. last month of sex trafficking.
They may seek answers from other family members, including his ex-wife Sarah and potentially other senior members of the royal family.
What dirty laundry could be vented in court if there is no settlement?
If no settlement is reached, then the duke’s private life could essentially be docked.
As a young man, Prince Playboy was one of the most capable bachelors in the world and earned the nickname “Randy Andy” after being associated with a number of beautiful women.
When Andrew became a bachelor for the second time, he made headlines again when he was seen having fun with half-naked women on vacation in Thailand, and attended a “hooker and pimp” party with Robert Maxwell’s daughter Ghislaine in the United States.
It is possible that if the lawsuit were taken to court, lawyers could investigate Andrew’s sexual history and ask him about everything from his sexual partners to the details of his dealings with Epstein and Maxwell, who was convicted of sex trafficking.
Andrew also faced barbecue due to his ability to sweat and his alibi Pizza Express.
During his “car accident” BBC Newsnight interview in 2019, Andrew denied sleeping with Miss Roberts and said one meeting in 2001 did not occur because he spent the day with his daughter Beatrice and took her to the Pizza Express in Woking for a party. . .
The same alleged sexual intercourse, which, according to Miss Roberts, began with Andrew sweating profusely while dancing at London’s Tramp nightclub, was later marked as factually incorrect by the duke, who said he had a medical condition at the time, which meant did not sweat.
As a result, it is possible that Andrew’s daughter Beatrice could testify in any American trial. It is also possible that Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson – who herself has provoked some of the most degrading royal scandals of modern times – could provide evidence.
However, a settlement would obviously do little to help the 61-year-old prince clear his name, and it is unlikely to help him achieve his long-standing ambition to return to public life in some form.
The Duke of York was photographed with his arm around the bare waist of then-17-year-old Virginia Roberts. In the background Ghislaine Maxwell. Roberts claims she was forced to have sex with the royal three times
Could Andrew be forced to appear in court?
Legal experts claim that Andrew could not be forcibly extradited because it is a civil case.
Edward Grange, a publishing expert and partner at Corker Binning, told MailOnline: “In short, extradition cannot take place as long as the case remains under civil jurisdiction.
“Prince Andrew would only threaten extradition if he was charged in the United States with a felony punishable by 12 months or more.
“While it would be possible to apply for extradition to the United Kingdom, it would undoubtedly be carefully considered whether such steps should be taken, given that it would be a very bold step for prosecutors due to undoubted diplomatic pain, it could cause both jurisdiction.”
Mr Grange added: “If he were accused of a crime in the US and if the US sought to extradite him, his British nationality would not lead to the application being rejected because Britain extradites its own citizens.”
Could Meghan, Charles or Fergie be asked to testify?
David Boies, Miss Roberts’ lawyer, said he planned to make a formal request to interview the two witnesses through the British judicial system.
This has sparked speculation that he wants to talk to Sarah, Beatrice or one of the Duke’s police guardians. He also speculated that Charles and Meghan Markle could also be called as witnesses if the case goes to court.
Mr Boies said the Duchess of Sussex was a potential witness because she lived in the United States and was subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. However, there is no evidence that Meghan is Andrew’s ‘close associate’ or has any information about the claims against him.
The rest of the royal family is probably very reluctant to testify in the case, and Miss Roberts’ lawyers can’t force them.
If Andrew loses a civil dispute, could he face criminal proceedings?
Attorney Julie Rendelman downplayed the prospect of any criminal charges being filed for Andrew’s case.
The Guardian said, “I believe so [Maxwell] is the latest on the criminal charges against Epstein. I’m pretty sure the plaintiffs spent this time evaluating each piece of evidence to see if there was anything else.
“I think they realized the strongest case was Ghislaine, so they went.”