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Sex abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew can go forward: judge

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the sex abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew brought by a longtime Jeffrey Epstein accuser could move forward. In a Wednesday morning opinion, Judge Lewis Kaplan denied the royal’s motion to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s suit against him. Andrew’s attorneys had argued in their motion to dismiss the suit that Giuffre was barred from suing him because of a 2009 settlement agreement that she inked with Epstein to dismiss a Florida suit she brought against the pedophile. The agreement releases “other potential defendants” from being sued by Giuffre, but Kaplan wrote in his decision Wednesday that the language of the agreement is too ambiguous for him to dismiss the suit against Andrew. “The parties have articulated at least two reasonable interpretations of the critical language. The agreement therefore is ambiguous. Accordingly, the determination of the meaning of the release language in the 2009 Agreement must await further proceedings,” Kaplan wrote in the opinion. Kaplan added that “the releasing language” in the agreement is itself ambiguous. “The 2009 Agreement cannot be said to demonstrate, clearly and unambiguously, that the parties intended to instrument ‘directly,’ ‘primarily,’ or ‘substantially’ to benefit Prince Andrew,” the judge wrote. “The existence of the requisite intent to benefit him, or others comparable to him, is an issue of fact that could not properly be decided on this motion even if the defendant fell within the releasing language, which itself is ambiguous,” he added. Giuffre sued Andrew in Manhattan federal court in August, claiming she was forced to have sex with the embattled royal three times when she was a teen. Giuffre, now 38, claims she was directed by pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein and his cohort Ghislaine Maxwell each time she had sex with Andrew. The abuse happened in New York, London and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands, according to the suit. In the suit, Giuffre’s lawyers describe her as a “child” who was forced have sex with the royal – and feared for her life if she didn’t do as instructed. They wrote of the alleged sex abuse in London: “During this encounter, Epstein, Maxwell and Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff, a child, to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will.” Giuffre’s attorney David Boies has said he intends to depose up to a dozen people ahead of trial, including the prince himself. They may also request to depose Meghan Markle because of her position as a US resident with ties to the royal family, Boies told Fox News in December. “We want to have at least a couple of depositions of people who knew Prince Andrew and were sort of members of his inner circle at various times and who might have either have knowledge themselves or have knowledge about people who would have knowledge,” Boies told the news channel. “Meghan Markle, because of her position in the family, is one of those people,” he said. “And because she’s in the United States, it’s easier to take her deposition than people in the United Kingdom. She is somebody who we are considering,” Boies added. Lawyers for Prince Andrew did not immediately return a request for comment.




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