Judge says Prince Andrew could face trial next year in sex abuse civil case

New York: A US judge said Britain’s Prince Andrew should be prepared for a civil trial late next year on accusations that he sexually abused a woman when she was under 18.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan said he anticipated a trial on Virginia Giuffre’s civil claims would begin between September and December 2022, provided that a jury could be accommodated safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prince Andrew has said he “unequivocally denies” the allegations against him. Credit:AP

“I will look at the possibility of September, but in any case October through December as being the target here,” Kaplan said in phone conference with Andrew’s and Giuffre’s lawyers on Wednesday, local time.

Giuffre, 38, sued Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, for unspecified damages in August.

She said Andrew forced her to have sex at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, a long-time associate of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, and abused her at Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan and on one of Epstein’s private islands in the US Virgin Islands.

The conference came five days after Andrew, 61, said he “unequivocally denies Giuffre’s false accusations against him” and urged Kaplan to dismiss the lawsuit.

Andrew said Giuffre had been seeking “another payday” in a more than decade-long effort to profit from her accusations against Epstein and people associated with him.

Epstein died at age 66 in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, in what a medical examiner called a suicide.

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