NEW YORK: Britain's Prince Andrew on Friday (Oct 29) rejected Virginia Giuffre's accusations that he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17, and urged a US judge to dismiss her civil lawsuit.
In filings with the US District Court in Manhattan, the Duke of York called Giuffre's "baseless" lawsuit an effort to "achieve another payday" from her accusations against the late financier Jeffrey Epstein and his associates.
Andrew, 61, who is Queen Elizabeth's second son, also said he was released from liability under a 2009 settlement agreement between Giuffre and Epstein, a registered sex offender.
He said that agreement covered "royalty", among others, and that Epstein had insisted it cover "any and all persons" who Giuffre might sue.
"Virginia Giuffre may well be a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein, and nothing can excuse, nor fully capture, the abhorrence and gravity of Epstein's monstrous behavior against Giuffre, if so," Andrew's lawyers wrote.
"However, and without diminishing the harm suffered as a result of Epstein's alleged misconduct, Prince Andrew never sexually abused or assaulted Giuffre," they added. "He unequivocally denies Giuffre's false allegations against him."
David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre, said in a statement that Andrew's bid to dismiss the lawsuit "fails to confront the serious allegations" it contained.
He also said the settlement agreement "on its face" applies "at most" to people involved in underlying litigation in Florida, thereby excluding the prince.
"Prince Andrew's attempt now to use the 2009 release as a get out of jail free card shows how desperate he is to dodge and duck the facts of what he did," Boies said.
Epstein killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Giuffre, 38, sued Andrew for unspecified damages in August, accusing him of forcing her to have sex at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime Epstein associate.
She also accused Andrew of abusing her at Epstein's mansion in Manhattan, and on one of Epstein's private islands in the US Virgin Islands.
In Friday's filings, Andrew's lawyers said Giuffre had already "purportedly received millions of dollars" from settling a 2015 defamation lawsuit against Maxwell, where according to court papers she had sought US$50 million.
The lawyers said they would also challenge a 2019 New York law that gave survivors of childhood sexual abuse a now-closed two-year window to sue their alleged abusers over conduct occurring many years or decades earlier.
That law allowed Giuffre to pursue her case, but according to the lawyers deprived the prince of his due process rights under New York's state constitution.
The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, the state's top law enforcer, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Andrew has not been charged with crimes.
He gave up many royal duties and lost support from charities and organisations after a disastrous November 2019 BBC interview in which he did not appear sympathetic toward Epstein's victims.
The next hearing in Giuffre's lawsuit is set for Nov 3.
Giuffre was sued separately for US$20 million on Thursday for allegedly defaming on Twitter an artist who has said she brought women to Epstein but denied being a recruiter.
The artist, Rina Oh Amen, sued over tweets including that she "procured & partook in the abuse of minors". Amen called the tweets "maliciously false", and said Epstein also abused her.
Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and other charges for allegedly helping recruit and groom underage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004. Her trial in Manhattan begins on Nov 29.