Prince Andrew’s lawyer argues sex abuse accuser cannot sue in US as ‘she lives in Australia’
Prince Andrew's lawyer has called for the civil sexual assault case against the royal in the US to be stopped because his accuser lives in Australia.
Virginia Giuffre is suing the Queen’s son for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. The Duke of York has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The Duke's legal team are arguing that Ms Giuffre is not a US citizen and so the New York court does not have jurisdiction over the case.
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Andrew B Brettler, in documents filed for the 61-year-old on Tuesday in the Southern District Court of New York, said the case should be halted until the “issue of subject matter jurisdiction is adjudicated”.
“Recently discovered evidence suggests that the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over this action because Plaintiff Virginia L Giuffre cannot satisfy the elements of diversity jurisdiction,” Mr Brettler wrote in the documents seen by the PA news agency.
“Notwithstanding that, in her complaint, Ms Giuffre alleges she is a citizen of the state of Colorado, the evidence demonstrates that she is actually domiciled in Australia, where she has lived for all but two of the past 19 years.
“It is undisputed that, at the time she filed this action, Ms Giuffre had an Australian driver’s licence and was living in a A$1.9 million (£1 million) home in Perth, Western Australia, where she and her husband have been raising their three children.
“In reality, Ms Giuffre’s ties to Colorado are very limited. She has not lived there since at least 2019 – approximately two years before she filed this lawsuit against Prince Andrew – and potentially, according to her own deposition testimony, not since October 2015.
“Despite having moved to Australia in 2019 or earlier, it appears that Ms Giuffre only recently registered to vote in Colorado using her mother and stepfather’s mailing address there.
“In light of the apparent lack of diversity jurisdiction, Prince Andrew respectfully requests that the Court order Ms Giuffre to respond to targeted written discovery requests pertaining to her domicile and submit to a two-hour remote deposition limited to the issue of her domicile.”
It comes just over two weeks after Mr Brettler argued the case should be thrown out because Ms Giuffre has a “tortured interpretation” of the law she is relying on.
He said on December 14 some of the alleged offences happened outside New York state and beyond the jurisdiction of the New York Child Victims Act (CVA) she is using.
The CVA created a 12-month window for individuals to file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for the alleged sexual abuse they suffered as children. The deadline was later extended by one year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Giuffre is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be millions of pounds.
She claims she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
The Duke has denied all the allegations.
Epstein was found dead in his cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial at a New York federal jail. His death was ruled a suicide.