Duke’s accuser ‘wants court date or admission’ rather than settlement

One of the few options open to Andrew is to try and reach an out-of-court financial settlement with Virginia Giuffre.

Duke’s accuser ‘wants court date or admission’ rather than settlement Getty Images

The Duke of York’s accuser wants to be “vindicated” by the legal process and is not motivated by reaching a “purely financial settlement”, her lawyer has said.

One of the few options open to Andrew is to try and reach an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Giuffre after a US judge ruled her allegation of sexual assault against him can be heard at a civil trial.

But the suggestion by David Boies, Ms Giuffre’s attorney, that money alone would not satisfy his client might indicate she may want her day in court or some admission from the duke.

The lawyer declined to rule out the prospect of his client agreeing a settlement but said there was “no suggestion of settlement discussions at this point”.

Legal experts have described Andrew reaching an out of court agreement, rumoured to be in the millions of pounds, as his best worst case option – as it avoids him being cross-examined in court.

The civil sex case also threatens to set off a “constitutional crisis” which will engulf the royal family, media lawyer Mark Stephens has said.

In another development, Armed Forces veterans have called on the Queen to “strip” her son of all his military ranks and titles in a open letter to the head of state, which was co-ordinated by Graham Smith of the campaign group Republic.

Speaking on BBC’s Newsnight, Mr Boies said: “I think it’s very important to Virginia Giuffre that this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims.

“I don’t think she has a firm view at this point, or could she, as to exactly what a solution should be.

“But I think what’s going to be important is that this resolution vindicates her and vindicates the claim she has made.”

He added: “A purely financial settlement is not anything that I think she’s interested in.”

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan dismissed a motion by the duke’s lawyers to have the civil case thrown out after they argued Ms Giuffre had waived her right to pursue the duke by signing a confidential settlement with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The decision means Andrew is a step closer to appearing – if he chooses to engage with the US legal system – in front of a jury, whether in person or more likely via video link, and there is the prospect his daughters princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and wife Sarah, Duchess of York may be called to give evidence.

Asked by presenter Kirsty Wark if Ms Giuffre was “open to the idea of a settlement”, Mr Boies replied: “I don’t want to prejudge that”.

He went on to say previous attempts he made to resolve the issue with Andrew were rebuffed: “Prior to the time that we brought the case we reached out to Prince Andrew and Prince Andrew’s lawyers and suggested a mediation as a possible way of avoiding litigation.

“There was no interest in that at that time. Whether that has changed or not. I think we’ll have to wait and see.”

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 the duke’s friend financier Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.

The duke has vehemently denied the allegations and his legal team have argued from the first hearing into the lawsuit the case was “baseless”.

In their open letter to the Queen, signed by more than 150 veterans, the former soldiers, sailors and airmen write: “Regardless of the result of Virginia Giuffre’s civil case against Prince Andrew, his position in Britain’s armed forces is now untenable.

“Were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post.”

Mr Smith, whose organisation Republic campaigns for an elected head of state, said: “There is no excuse for allowing Andrew to continue to enjoy the status and prestige of these positions. The Queen needs to act now and strip him of all military ranks and titles.”

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