Prince Andrew cannot 'thumb his nose at a Federal court'

Prince Andrew cannot ‘thumb his nose at a Federal court’ and his accuser Virginia Roberts ‘expects vindication’, her lawyer says

  • David Boies, who represents Virginia Roberts, said case now a matter for courts
  • Ms Roberts sued the Duke of York, 61, in New York federal court on Monday
  • Mr Boies said his client  wanted ‘vindication’ from her civil suit for damages

The lawyer representing Prince Andrew’s accuser has said the case is now a matter for the courts to decide as he claimed the royal’s legal team ‘stonewalled’ any appeals for information.

David Boies, who represents Virginia Roberts, said it would be ‘ill-advised’ for the Duke of York ‘to thumb his nose at a federal court’ after Ms Roberts sued the 61-year-old in New York federal court on Monday. 

Ms Roberts, now 38, is seeking ‘significant’ damages from Prince Andrew claiming she was sexually assaulted by him in New York, the Caribbean and London in 2001 – when she was 17 and he was 41.

She claims she was forced to have sex with him and was ‘lent out for sexual purposes’ by paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. 

Mr Boies said his client ultimately wanted ‘vindication’ from her civil suit for damages.

David Boies, who represents Virginia Roberts, said the case is now a matter for the courts to decide 

The lawyer claimed the Duke of York’s legal team had ‘stonewalled’ any appeals for information

Andrew has vehemently denied the allegations in the past, and a spokesman for the duke said there was ‘no comment’ when she was asked to respond to Ms Roberts’ legal action.

Mr Boies told Channel 4 News: ‘He can ignore me and he can ignore Virginia, which is what he’s been doing for the last five years. 

‘We’ve made every effort to reach out to him to hear his side of the story to understand whether he has anything that he can say that would put his actions in context. And he has simply ignored us, and he can do that, but he can’t ignore judicial process.  

‘This is now a matter for the courts to decide. And it would be very ill advised I think for anyone to sort of thumb their nose at a federal court. If he did, obviously there would be a default judgment entered against him, which I think no one really wants to have happen.’

Mr Boies went on to say that the duke’s legal team had ‘totally stonewalled’ any appeals for information.

He continued: ‘They just have totally stonewalled, they have refused to provide any explanation, they refuse to engage in any discussions, they refuse to provide any facts. 

‘They’ve even refused to respond to any of the allegations that been made in any reasonable way.

‘They have basically simply ignored every letter, every phone call, every outreach that we’ve made in an attempt to let him provide us with whatever facts he thinks we ought to consider and to try to see whether this can be resolved without the necessity of litigation. 

Ms Roberts claims she was sexually assaulted by Prince Andrew in New York, the Caribbean and London in 2001 – when she was 17 and he was 41. The Duke of York has always vehemently denied all charges made by Virginia Roberts

The accuser claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York and was ‘lent out for sexual purposes’ by paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Speaking about his client Mr Boies added: ‘I think she expects to get vindication and vindication for her and vindication for all the other young women that have been guilty of sex trafficking around the world by various rich and powerful men. This is a case and a cause to which she’s dedicated herself over the last few years. 

‘She has donated a significant amount of the money that she has recovered from Jeffrey Epstein’s estate and from Ghislaine Maxwell to a charitable foundation, designed to help other young girls. 

Lawyers representing Ms Roberts (pictured)  filed the civil suit in New York on Monday

‘Her hope is that calling rich and powerful abusers to account will have some effect on reducing the chance that other young girls will suffer which she suffered. So I think what she hopes to get out of this is vindication. And hopefully a better world for other young girls.’     

The duke does not have to attend or give evidence in the civil proceedings in New York, but the legal action will be a further blow to his reputation and the standing of the monarchy, according to Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty Magazine.

He said about the Epstein scandal: ‘It’s damaging not only for Andrew but for the institution of the monarchy itself because all sorts of allegations have been thrown at the institution since all this came to light – and the perception is, most likely incorrectly, they are not taking it seriously.’

Andrew stepped back from public duties after the backlash from his 2019 Newsnight interview, dubbed a ‘car crash’, which had attempted to draw a line under his relationship with Epstein – but instead saw him heavily criticised for showing little empathy with the sex offender’s victims.

‘I can’t think of any kind of rehabilitation that will bring him back into the royal fold as a working member of the family,’ added Mr Little.

Lawyers for Ms Roberts filed the civil suit seeking unspecified damages at a federal court in New York, where the court documents claim she was ‘lent out for sexual purposes’ by Epstein including while she was still a minor under US law.

Andrew is named as the only defendant in the 15-page suit, brought under New York state’s Child Victims Act, although Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.

It is alleged in the documents Ms Roberts was sexually abused while aged under 18 by the Queen’s second son at Maxwell’s home in London, at Epstein’s New York mansion and at other locations including Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.

British socialite Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court, where she faces trial in November, while Epstein took his own life in a US federal jail in August 2019, a month after he was arrested on the same charges.

The documents claim Ms Roberts ‘was compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, Maxwell, and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts with Prince Andrew, and feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth and authority’.

The duke allegedly engaged in the sexual acts without Ms Roberts’ consent, while aware of her age and while ‘knowing that she was a sex-trafficking victim’, the documents claim, adding the alleged assaults ‘have caused, and continue to cause her, significant emotional and psychological distress and harm’.

Mr Boies told Channel 4 News: ‘The evidence in terms of what he (Andrew) knew about Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation is something that obviously will be for the jury to decide. I think that everybody who was closely associated with Jeffrey Epstein knew that he had these young girls, these young women who he was trafficking.’

Solicitor advocate Nick Goldstone, head of dispute resolution at international law firm Ince, said: ‘I don’t think Prince Andrew will be compelled to attend the New York court and give evidence to defend himself.

‘I don’t think he will be compelled to put in any defence in writing because he can maintain his right to silence.

‘And under the American terminology, ‘take the fifth’ – the Fifth Amendment, everybody has a right to silence for fear of self-incrimination.’

If the duke and his legal team do not engage in the civil proceedings, they are expected to continue without their input – with the court making its judgment in due course.

Andrew does not face the prospect of an extradition hearing as this only applies to criminal charges and not civil cases.

In his Newsnight interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, Andrew denied claims that he slept with Ms Roberts on three separate occasions, saying: ‘I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.’

The duke also said he has no memory of a well-known photograph of him with his arm around Ms Roberts’ waist at Maxwell’s house, and has questioned whether it was his own hand in the image.

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