Andrew questions ability to pursue sex abuse lawsuit

Prince Andrew has not been charged with any crimes. Photo: Getty Images
Prince Andrew has not been charged with any crimes. Photo: Getty Images
A lawyer for Britain's Prince Andrew has questioned whether Virginia Giuffre is legally entitled to pursue her civil lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing her when she was under 18.

In a filing with the US District Court in Manhattan, lawyer Andrew Brettler said "recently discovered evidence" suggested that the court lacked jurisdiction because Giuffre has lived in Australia for most of the last two decades, and cannot prove she resided in Colorado as she stated in her complaint.

Virginia Giuffre. Photo: Reuters
Virginia Giuffre. Photo: Reuters

The filing came ahead of a scheduled hearing before US District Judge Lewis Kaplan on January 4 on whether to dismiss Giuffre's lawsuit.

Lawyers for Giuffre (38) did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Giuffre has accused Andrew of forcing her to have sex more than two decades ago at the London home of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, the former associate of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, and abusing her at Epstein's homes in Manhattan and the US Virgin Islands.

Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, has denied Giuffre's claims, and accused her of trying to profit from accusations against Epstein and people who knew him.

The 61-year-old prince has not been charged with crimes. Giuffre is seeking unspecified damages.

Federal courts may assert "diversity jurisdiction" over lawsuits when no plaintiff shares a state of citizenship with any defendant.

Brettler said Giuffre failed this test because she has not lived in Colorado since at least 2019, and it was "long-established" that US citizens who permanently resided abroad cannot invoke diversity jurisdiction.

He also suggested that Giuffre made a "calculated move to support her specious claim" of Colorado residency by registering to vote there, using her mother's and stepfather's mailing address, in February 2020.

"Without being able to satisfy the requirements for diversity jurisdiction, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this dispute and must dismiss the action as a matter of law," Brettler wrote.

Andrew wants to halt the gathering of evidence until the jurisdictional issue is resolved, and is seeking "limited" discovery to determine whether Giuffre can sue him. 

Meanwhile, a jury in the United States is continuing to deliberate in Ghislaine Maxwell's trial.

The 60-year-old is accused of recruiting and grooming four teenage girls to have sexual encounters with Epstein, her ex-boyfriend and employer, between 1994 and 2004. She denies the charges.

Epstein (66) killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

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