US judge Lewis Kaplan will decide “soon” whether a civil sex assault case against the Duke of York will be dismissed, following the latest hearing in New York.
At a virtual hearing in Manhattan on Tuesday, Judge Kaplan said he appreciated the “arguments and the passion” over the 2009 agreement.
He said he would give a decision on the case “pretty soon” but declined to say exactly when.
Prince Andrew, 61, is being sued by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 38, for alleged sexual assault that she claims took place when she was 17 and had been trafficked by the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and now convicted ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.
The duke denies the allegations.
Virginia Giuffre was mentionner by a witness for the prosecution, Carolyn, at the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial.
Ms Giuffre’s central allegation is that Epstein, and the now-convicted Ghislaine Maxwell, trafficked her into sexual abuse and exploitation – including incidents in which she said she was expected to engage in sexual activity with Prince Andrew in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands.
According to Giuffre, the sexual assaults took place at three different locations New York and the US Virgin Islands as well while she traveled to the United Kingdom with both Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
Judge Kaplan used Tuesday’s hearing to closely question lawyers on both sides as to whether the Epstein-Giuffre damages settlement could be used at all by Prince Andrew to stop the case.
The settlement between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre was made public earlier this week.
The 2009 deal shows both Epstein and Virginia Giuffre agreed that neither of them would disclose the deal to other parties – unless ordered to do so by a court.
Secondly, both of them accepted that the agreement could not be used in any other court case that was not directly related to enforcing its terms.
Judge Kaplan said that the wording could mean that both Epstein and Ms Giuffre had to jointly agree on whether or not the settlement could be used to release other potential defendants from facing court.
“If someone got sued and Jeffrey Epstein said this person was within the release, and it was okay with Ms Giuffre, then [the deal] could be made available and Epstein could enforce it – but not otherwise” , said Judge Kaplan.
Mr Andrew Brettler, the Duke of York’s attorney, concluded by saying the case should “absolutely be dismissed”.