As of: 01/27/2022 6:35 p.m
Prince Andrew now wants to face a jury in the scandal surrounding allegations of abuse. But this is not a real turnaround, say lawyers. Rather, the Royal is trying to delay a legal dispute.
It looks like an about-face: Prince Andrew wants a jury trial. The son of the British Queen had previously tried several times to thwart the abuse process in New York against him. Now he is combative. Former New York prosecutor Annemarie McAvoy isn’t surprised: “I think he’s trying to save his name, to play a role in the world again after the royal family stripped him of duties and titles.”
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But whether the fallen royal can achieve that in front of a lay jury of all people is questionable. Lawyer MacAvoy finds it much more likely that Andrew is speculating on an out-of-court settlement. According to US law, that is still possible even if a process is already underway.
“He could try to show through his current strategy that he is innocent and that the allegations against him are false,” she says. After a few months there could be an agreement – and that would end the process.
Plaintiff claims damages
In the document now filed in federal court in Manhattan, Andrew again rejects allegations of abuse by US plaintiff Virginia Giuffre. His lawyers list eleven reasons why the civil suit should be dismissed.
The lawsuit from a woman who has long claimed the prince abused her on multiple occasions when she was a minor. She was introduced to Andrew by his buddy, later convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Among other things, Andrew’s lawyers argue that plaintiff Giuffre is guilty of her own crimes — a claim that her attorneys have met with fierce opposition.
Giuffre’s legal counsel David Boies triumphed: “We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew during his interrogation and trial about his denials and attempts to blame Ms Giuffre for her abuse.” His client is seeking damages from her alleged abuser.
“Reaction is simply routine”
Above all, the 38-year-old wants one thing: to be rehabilitated. “She wants to see him in court and let a jury decide on him. On the truth, on her allegations,” says Boies.
While many are talking about Prince Andrew’s about-face, says New York criminal defense attorney Ron Kuby: Much ado about nothing. He sees no turning point in Prince Andrew’s strategy. His current reaction is simply the routine that every civil proceeding in the United States requires.
“After unsuccessfully trying to dismiss the lawsuit, Prince Andrew is obliged to respond to it. And then the defenses are listed,” says the lawyer. And that’s exactly what he did. “If someone doesn’t pre-register their defense points, then they will be overruled.”
Process start in autumn
Now comes the so-called investigation phase, in which both sides can request information from each other. Each party has the right to question the other under oath or to inspect documents. And if they come to their conclusion, both sides can challenge the lawsuit again.
“So what Prince Andrew is doing here is delaying the litigation,” says Kuby. But he doesn’t take any blame. “He agrees that he will appear in court – if it comes to that.”
Then, given the mood in the country, the British Royal would not have a good chance in front of a jury in New York, says Kuby. “First of all, we don’t have it that way with the royals here. Everyone – even the laymen on the jury – feels glee. And when it comes to the credibility of the prince and the plaintiff, very few will be on his side.”
The start of the process is scheduled for autumn. If that happens, the fallen prince would have to answer for himself as a normal citizen.
Andrew Abuse Trial: What Else Can He Fight In New York?
Antje Passenheim, ARD New York, 27.1.2022 5:45 p.m