A lawyer for Britain’s Prince Andrew has asked a federal judge in New York to keep sealed a 2009 legal agreement between his prosecutor and now deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, noting that the document may protect the royal from a lawsuit alleging that he has sexually assaulted an American. woman when she was under 18.
Andrew Brettler, one of Andrew’s attorneys, made the request in papers filed late Tuesday in the southern district of New York, where U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan is leading a lawsuit in August filed on behalf of Virginia Giuffre.
At the trial in August, Giuffre accused the duke of intentionally inflicting emotional distress and violence. She claims in the case that by Epstein’s order she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times. The trial said the prince abused her on several occasions in 2001 when she was 17 and a minor under U.S. law.
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The duke has denied the allegations. Among other things, Brettler called Giuffre’s trial “unfounded.”
Brettler said in Tuesday’s court papers that he is preparing written arguments to ask for the trial to be dismissed and he wants to include a deal under seal that he claims excludes the trial against Andrew.
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He also requested that all parts of his arguments revealing information in the agreement be edited.
The deal was signed between Giuffre and Epstein, a former convicted financier who was found dead at the age of 66 in his cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking lawsuit in a federal prison in New York.
Brettler said the agreement “releases Prince Andrew and others from any alleged liability as a result of the claims Mrs Giuffre made against Prince Andrew here.”
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The lawyer also said that neither the prince nor Giuffre claimed that the release agreement should remain sealed, but they wanted to ask that it remain secret because it is subject to a protective order from another judge presiding over a federal civil case in New York.
A preparatory hearing in the case is scheduled for early November.
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Earlier this week, Kaplan ordered that deposits in the civil lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Prince Andrew be completed by July 14 next year, effectively signaling that he is ready to move the case to trial, court records show.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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