Prince Andrew has asked a judge in New York for a trial, as he once again denied the accusations of sexual violence against one of the prosecutors of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
In court documents filed Wednesday, the British king admits that he met Epstein in or around 1999. Epstein was found hanged in a prison cell in New York in August 2019 after being accused of trafficking underage girls for sexual violence.
However, Prince Andrew denied Virginia Roberts Juffre’s allegations that he sexually raped her when she was under 18 and that Epstein sold him girls.
“The jury trial is strategically beneficial for the prince because it requires Giuffre to convince six of the six jurors that she has been sexually abused. These are better numbers than convincing a judge to stand trial, ”said Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor who is president of the West Coast Trial Lawyers. Although an agreement was still possible, Rahmani speculated that this might be unlikely due to Giuffre’s desire to testify publicly.
The statement came after Judge Lewis Kaplan this month rejected the Duke of York’s request to drop the case on the grounds that it was covered by a 2009 confidential agreement between Epstein and Juffre.
Under the terms of that agreement, which has since been made public, Giuffre received $ 500,000 in exchange for withdrawing all claims against Epstein, as well as “any other person or entity that could be included as a potential defendant.”
The British king’s lawyers say he should not be dragged to court 20 years after the alleged violence, adding that memories are fading, witnesses are dying or may be closed, and documents may be missing or destroyed.
Juffre’s lawyers say her allegations are clear.
Buckingham Palace said this month that Prince Andrew would stop using the title “His Royal Highness” and lose his role as royal patron of a number of organizations.
The Duke of York announced in 2019 that he would resign after a disastrous television interview with the BBC, in which he tried to explain his relationship with Epstein and refute Juffre’s accusations.
A photo published with court documents shows the prince with his arm around the waist of a young Giuffre. Gislane Maxwell, who was found guilty last month by a New York jury on sexual trafficking charges related to her long-term relationship with Epstein, is on the side of the photo.
Prince Andrew lacked “enough information to admit or deny the claim that there was photographic evidence of his alleged meeting with Juffre,” according to Wednesday’s documents.
A lawyer representing Giuffre did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Additional reports by Joshua Chaffin in New York