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Prince Andrew to challenge US court jurisdiction in sexual assault lawsuit

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Prince Andrew plans to challenge a US court’s jurisdiction over a civil lawsuit by a woman who accused him of sexual assault, according to a court filing.

In the filing with the US District Court in Manhattan, a lawyer for the Duke of York said the prince also plans to contest that he was properly served with the lawsuit by accuser Virginia Giuffre.

Prince Andrew, the Earl of Inverness as he is known in Scotland, during a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
Image: Prince Andrew, the Earl of Inverness as he is known in Scotland, during a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

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Prince Andrew has always categorically denied any sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.

A US court will hold a pre-trial conference later in the civil lawsuit.

The hearing, which will take place in New York City, will look at whether Ms Giuffre’s legal team has done enough to deliver papers regarding the civil lawsuit to the Duke of York.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyers have said the documents were handed to a Metropolitan Police officer on duty at the main gates of Andrew’s home in Windsor Great Park on 27 August.

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But Blackfords, a law firm that represents the prince “in certain UK matters”, has questioned whether the papers were properly served.

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York will decide whether the efforts to present the prince with the papers were enough or whether more is required.

Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the prince, when she was 17 and a minor under US law.

She has repeatedly made her allegations against Epstein, Maxwell, and Andrew, but the suit is the first time she has directly confronted Andrew in such a formal setting.

Ms Giuffre earlier said in a statement that the lawsuit was brought under the Child Victims Act to allege she was trafficked to him and sexually abused by him.

“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” she said.

In a BBC Newsnight interview in 2019, Prince Andrew said he had never had sex with Ms Giuffre, saying: “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.”

The duke said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her and that there were “a number of things that are wrong” about her account.

He has also suggested a photo showing him with his arm around Ms Giuffre may have been doctored.