Prince Andrew's lawyers say sex abuse case is baseless and papers weren't properly served

Photograph appearing to show Prince Andrew Duke York with Jeffrey Epstein's accuser Virgina Guifre and alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell

Prince Andrew's legal team said Tuesday that a civil lawsuit alleging the senior British royal sexually abused Virginia Roberts Giuffre when she was 17 is baseless, and argued that legal papers in the case weren't served properly.

Los Angeles attorney Andrew Brettler, who appeared virtually during a pre-trial teleconference in New York on behalf of Andrew on Monday, said the prince's legal team would challenge the validity of the lawsuit.

Brettler referenced a settlement that Andrew's lawyers said Giuffre had previously entered, precluding her from pursuing litigation against anyone connected to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

"We believe, however, that this is a baseless, non-viable and potentially unlawful lawsuit that plaintiff has filed against the Duke. There has been a settlement agreement that the plaintiff has entered into in a prior action that releases the Duke and others from any and all potential liability," Brettler said.

Giuffre accuses Andrew of having sex with her when she was a minor, and filed a civil lawsuit against the prince in New York in August. Andrew has denied similar allegations from Giuffre in the past.

But the case can't proceed until judicial authorities determine that legal papers have been legally served to the prince. Brettler said Monday that the Duke of York's legal team had been in contact with the High Court in the United Kingdom which they say must weigh in on the service -- or formal notification -- of the lawsuit.

Giuffre's lawyers say this has been done. In an affidavit filed in the Southern District of New York on Friday, a process server hired by Giuffre's legal team to give formal notice of the lawsuit to Andrew said he left the papers with the Metropolitan Police security detail at the main gates of the prince's home, the Royal Lodge in Windsor, on August 27.

"We've proceeded to serve Prince Andrew in several ways pursuant to Article 10 of the Hague Convention," an attorney for Giuffre, David Boies, said during Monday's hearing.

Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan and attorneys for Giuffre agreed it was premature to discuss the previous settlement agreement with Epstein, which is currently sealed in another civil action in the Southern District of New York.

"I think we are making this more complicated that it already is," the judge said in court Monday.

Kaplan ordered a schedule for the parties to file procedural motions that will play out before he makes a decision on the service of the lawsuit and whether that settlement agreement should be shared with the Prince's counsel. An in-person hearing in New York is scheduled for October 13.

CNN reached out to attorneys for both parties for comment.

Giuffre says she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends, including Prince Andrew, the Queen's second son, when she was a minor. While Andrew has denied the claims, he has been seen in photos with Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and former girlfriend of Epstein who is currently charged with conspiracy and sex trafficking amongst other charges.

US authorities have previously accused Andrew of not cooperating with attempts to interview him as part of the investigation into the alleged sex trafficking ring ​Epstein and Maxwell are suspected of operating.

The Prince stepped back from royal duties in the wake of a 2019 interview he gave the BBC in which he was widely considered to have damaged his own credibility. He now rarely appears in public.

The-CNN-Wire

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