A legal argument by Prince Andrew’s lawyers to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit based on ‘consent’ has been called ‘dangerous’ and ‘cruel’ and could backfire in front of a jury, according to legal experts.
In an official response to claims made against him by Ms Giuffre five months ago, the Duke of York this week issued 41 denials, rejecting all allegations of wrongdoing, and said a further 40 times that he ‘lacks sufficient information to admit or deny’ other claims.
His lawyers also demanded a ‘trial by jury’ in the New York civil case.
Andrew has submitted 11 defences calling for the case to be dismissed, including that Ms Giuffre’s claims should be barred by ‘her own wrongful conduct’ and ‘unclean hands’.
Legal experts have however questioned two of the arguments put forward by the defence, marked as Affirmative Defense, in which his lawyers argue, without admitting guilt, that any ‘injury or damages’ to Ms Giuffre could be ruled out because of her ‘consent’.
A legal argument by Prince Andrew’s lawyers to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit based on ‘consent’ has been called ‘dangerous’ and ‘cruel’ and could backfire in front of a jury, according to legal experts. Pictured: An image appearing to show Prince Andrew with his arm around Virginia Giuffre (then Roberts) beside Ghislaine Maxwell. Andrew’s lawyers says he ‘lacks sufficient evidence to confirm or deny’ if the photograph is real
In one, named Damages Contributed to by Others, his attorneys write: ‘Assuming, without admitting, that Giuffre has suffered any injury or damage, Giuffre and/or others, who are not Prince Andrew, contributed in whole or in part to the alleged damage.’
In the other, titled Consent, they wrote: ‘Assuming, without admitting, that Giuffre has suffered any injury or damage alleged in the Complaint, Giuffre’s claims are barred by the doctrine of consent.’
The arguments by Andrew’s legal team effectively claim that Giuffre, a victim of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, consented to having sex while being trafficked at the age of 17.
Wendy Murphy, a former sex crimes prosecutor and New England Law professor told The Guardian: ‘To say that she was acting of her own volitions and causing herself to be raped by a man with so much more power is … a dangerous thing to do.’
‘It’s going to cause enormous negative publicity for the prince, as it should, and if you ask a jury to blame a kid, they’re going to come back at you with a vengeance.’
Eric Baum of Eisenberg & Baum Law Center agreed with Murphy, suggesting it was a dangerous game for Andrew following his previous denials of having even met Giuffre.
Wendy Murphy (pictured), a former sex crimes prosecutor, has said Andrew’s legal team’s suggestions Ms Giuffre ‘was acting of her own volitions and causing herself to be raped by a man with so much more power is … a dangerous thing to do’
‘Now in his answer to the court, he is still denying [ever meeting or having sexual contact with Ms Giuffre], but unbelievably says if the acts occurred, they were consensual,’ he said.
Andrew is fighting the case as a private citizen after being forced to step down from royal duties, but his decision to demand a ‘trial by jury’ is set to ‘put him on a collision course with the Palace’, royal sources told the Mail earlier this week.
The spectacle of a trial in New York later this year threatens to overshadow the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations scheduled for June.
Andrew had not officially responded to the 73-point civil claim as his lawyers almost immediately applied to a New York judge for it to be thrown out.
Over 15 pages of court documents filed at New York’s southern district court, Roberts, also referred to by her married name Giuffre (pictured in 2019 following a hearing in the Epstein case), claimed that the Duke of York ‘committed sexual assault and battery’ against her while she was aged just 17, requesting that a judge award ‘punitive damages’ for the ‘physical and psychological’ injuries she suffered
That was dismissed earlier this month, meaning he now needs to formally answer the accusations against him, including claims that Ms Giuffre, was trafficked to him by his friend Mr Epstein, and forced to have sex with the duke on three occasions when she was 17.
She says this amounts to rape, sexual assault and battery as she seeks unspecified damages, thought to be in the millions of pounds.
Andrew’s eight admissions were limited to information already public, such as that he is a UK citizen and resides at Royal Lodge on the Windsor Estate.
He admits his walk with Epstein in Central Park in 2010 and staying at the paedophile’s Manhattan mansion on the same trip, both caught on camera.
But in his rebuttal of Miss Roberts’ complaint, Andrew denies he ever sexually abused her and refuses to ‘admit or deny’ her assertions that she was a victim of Epstein.
Prince Andrew’s legal team has filed legal papers in which the Royal denied all of Virginia Roberts’ sex abuse allegations as he prepares for a bitter court battle in the United States (Pictured: Andrew and ex wife Sarah Duchess Of York leaving Royal Lodge on January 22)
He even – quite remarkably given photographic evidence of their relationship over the years – denies being a ‘close friend’ of Epstein’s girlfriend and now convicted sex trafficker, Ghislaine Maxwell.
Andrew’s legal team also reject Miss Roberts’ accusation that he has refused to co-operate with US authorities in their investigation of Epstein and his co-conspirators, despite officials claiming he has done just that.
Andrew makes clear he continues to dispute Miss Roberts is resident in the state of Colorado, which allows her to bring the case in the US.
Now a 38-year-old mother-of-three, she lives in Perth, Australia, and it is understood Andrew’s legal team still intend to pursue this in a bid to get the case thrown out.
Andrew says he cannot admit or deny flight logs put him on Epstein’s private jet or that he visited his private island.
He confirms Epstein and Maxwell attended his 40th birthday party in 2000 – but denies throwing Maxwell a birthday party at the Sandringham estate that year.
Andrew says he ‘lacks sufficient evidence to confirm or deny’ if photographic evidence of his alleged meeting with Giuffre even ‘exists’. Friends of his had suggested the infamous picture could have been doctored.