The Duke of York’s lawyer has argued for the civil sexual claim against the royal to be thrown out, claiming his accuser has a “tortured interpretation” of the law she is relying on.
Andrew B Brettler, for the duke, also stated Virginia Giuffre – who is suing the Queen’s son for alleged sexual assault – claims some of the offences happened outside New York state and beyond the jurisdiction of the New York Child Victims Act (CVA) she is relying on.
The CVA created a 12-month window for individuals to file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for the alleged sexual abuse they suffered as children. The deadline was later extended by one year because of the pandemic.
In legal papers lodged with the New York court, Mr Brettler argued that under the CVA claims were revived for those who allegedly suffered harm, due to certain sexual offences, when they were under the age of 18, even though the age of consent in New York is 17.
For those aged under 17 a lack of consent is established as a matter of law, but those between 17 and 18 – as Ms Giuffre was when she alleges the sex assaults took place – a “lack of consent” could be established by an “implied threat”.
But he argued the only people who could verify the “purported” threats were Ms Giuffre, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein who is now dead, his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell who is being tried for sexual offences, and Andrew – apparently suggesting there was no-one who could independently corroborate her version of events.
He added: “According to Giuffre’s tortured interpretation of the CVA, it revives civil claims for plaintiffs who allegedly suffered sexual abuse when they were seventeen years of age or older based solely on the unverified (and unverifiable) contention that they did not consent to those acts.
“This is not a reasonable mechanism to address the injustice of child sexual abuse in New York.”
Ms Giuffre is suing the Queen’s son for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.
She claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
Andrew has denied all the allegations.
Epstein was found dead in his cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial at a New York federal jail. His death was ruled a suicide.
Mr Brettler also raised the issue of the location of the alleged offences, with one claimed to have happened in the UK and in the documents he argued: “But the CVA applies only to sexual offenses occurring in the State of New York.
“To the extent Giuffre’s causes of action are based on conduct taking place elsewhere, they fail to state a claim and must be stricken.”