London (CNN)Prince Andrew is facing the prospect of a trial in a very public civil lawsuit for sexual abuse later this year, after losing his attempt to have Virginia Giuffre’s case against him thrown out.
It is an unprecedented situation for a senior British royal — the third child (and reportedly the favorite son) of Queen Elizabeth II — and sets up a dramatic series of legal proceedings that will attract attention around the world and could have major ramifications for Buckingham Palace.
Giuffre alleges that she was trafficked by convicted sex offender and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and forced to perform sex acts with the royal — claims that Andrew denies.
Giuffre brought her case under the Child Victims Act, a state law enacted in New York in 2019 which expanded the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases to give survivors more opportunities to seek justice. An attorney for Giuffre told CNN in August that filing the civil case was to show “all perpetrators of abuse should be held accountable.”
She is seeking damages “in an amount to be determined at trial,” as well as attorneys’ fees and other further relief “as the Court may deem just and proper,” according to the lawsuit.
Andrew’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss late last year, but that effort failed on Wednesday and they must now prepare the prince to face a New York court.
In his ruling, judge Lewis Kaplan wrote that “Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘unintelligible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous.’ It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.”
The prince’s reputation has already been severely tarnished by his relationship with Epstein — and his friendship with Epstein’s former partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted in December for her role in facilitating Epstein’s abuse.
Here’s what you need to know about the case, and what comes next.
What are Giuffre’s claims?
Giuffre, an alleged victim of Epstein, says she was forced to perform sex acts with Andrew. She says she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends — including the prince — at a time when she was underage (17) in the US.
Giuffre says the assaults happened in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands, that Andrew was aware she was a minor at the time, and that she had been trafficked by Epstein.
In claims made prior to filing her lawsuit, Giuffre alleged that in 2001 Epstein brought her to London, where she was introduced to Prince Andrew and went dancing at a nightclub with Epstein, his then-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and the prince.
In a BBC interview broadcast in 2019, Giuffre said she had been taken to the Tramp nightclub where, Giuffre alleged, Andrew asked her to dance and was “sweating all over me.”
Andrew, 61, has consistently denied the claims, telling the BBC in 2019: “It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
He claimed in the same interview that he could not sweat, due to a rare medical condition, and that on the night he is alleged to have had sex with Giuffre, he was in fact taking his daughter to a party at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking, southwest of London.
Giuffre’s lawyers asked Andrew in court filings to provide documents proving both of those claims. But Andrew’s team responded that he was unable to do so, because he has no documents proving a medical condition that prevents sweating, and could not identity anyone he encountered at the pizza restaurant.
Where do things stand in the court case?
When the lawsuit was filed in August, Giuffre’s lawyers said the damage from the alleged incidents was “severe and lasting.”
Andrew’s legal team asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, saying it violated the terms of a confidential settlement agreement Giuffre made with Epstein in 2009.
That settlement was unsealed on January 3; it shows that Epstein paid Giuffre $500,000 to drop the case without any admission of liability or fault, and that Giuffre agreed to “remise, release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge” parties and “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant.” It does not explicitly name Andrew or any others.
Andrew lost that effort on Wednesday; Kaplan ruled that “the 2009 agreement cannot be said to demonstrate, clearly and unambiguously, the parties intended the instrument ‘directly,’ ‘primarily,’ or ‘substantially,’ to benefit Prince Andrew.”
It was not their first attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed; in September Andrew’s lawyers claimed the papers had not been properly served and that the case should be thrown out as a result.
Now Andrew has until July 14 to potentially answer questions about the case under oath, following a ruling made by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan last year. The scheduling order signed by the judge in New York means that if lawyers for Giuffre want to question Andrew, they must do so outside of court and submit the interview by that date.
The ruling on Wednesday gives Andrew limited options on how to proceed.
He could still try to negotiate a settlement with Giuffre to avoid the case going into a trial. He has repeatedly and categorically denied her allegations.
He could also choose to face the trial, which would open him up to more scrutiny over his alleged past behavior.
Another option is not to engage further and refuse to submit to the jurisdiction of the court. However, that would open him up to a potentially costly default judgment.
What is Andrew’s legal defense?
Andrew has denied the allegations against him, telling the BBC in 2019: It didn’t happen.”
Andrew’s attorneys have also attempt
What to know about Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse lawsuit in the US
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