Prince Andrew has formally requested a jury trial to determine the verdict of a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against him in New York federal court, according to a complaint filed Wednesday.
The Duke of York is being sued by a woman who claims she was forced to have sex with him while she was a minor and under the control of former financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Virginia Giuffre says that she was 17 years old when she was compelled to have sex with Andrew on three different occasions in London, New York City, and on Epstein's private island in the US Virgin Islands during the early 2000s.
In the court documents, Andrew and his lawyers went on the attack, not just "expressly denying" each of Giuffre's accusations of sexual abuse but also accusing her of misconduct and questioning whether the court even has legal jurisdiction to hear her case.
The complaint lays out the various defense strategies that the duke will use in the fight to clear his name.
First, Andrew reiterated a series of claims that he made in his unsuccessful attempt to have the case dismissed. The duke and his lawyers assert in the document that Giuffre's primary residence is in Australia, and thus the US has no legal authority in the matter. It also cites the fact that Giuffre was 17, the age of consent in New York when she was allegedly assaulted by the Duke of York. His lawyers also questioned the validity of the law under which she is suing him, the New York’s Child Victims Act of 2019, a short-term law that allowed people over the age of 55 to file civil lawsuits related to childhood sexual abuse during a specific time period.
A key part of Andrew's defense as outlined in Wednesday's filing involves calling Giuffre's behavior and character into question. In the document, his lawyers claim that Giuffre has engaged in "wrongful conduct" and question how truthful she has been in past interviews and statements about her alleged sexual abuse.
"Prince Andrew’s answer continues his approach of denying any knowledge or information concerning the claims against him, and purporting to blame the victim of the abuse for somehow bringing it on herself," Giuffre's lawyer David Boies said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News. "We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms. Giuffre for her own abuse at his deposition and at trial."
The lead attorney for the duke, Andrew Brettler, told BuzzFeed News via email that Wednesday was the last day for them to enter a response with the court and denied that the request for a jury trial was filed in response to an attempt to reach a settlement deal.
The decision comes exactly two weeks after Judge Lewis Kaplan refused to dismiss the charges against the duke on Jan. 12. Andrew's lawyers made several attempts to have the case thrown out, but Kaplan determined that there was enough evidence to allow the case to proceed to discovery, the phase where both sides have to produce potential evidence requested by the other, and key figures are deposed.
The next day, the Queen announced that she was stripping her second son of his honorary military titles and removing him from titular leadership positions of royal charities and foundations.
"The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending the case as a private citizen," according to the Buckingham Palace statement released via social media.
Correction: Jeffrey Epstein was convicted of soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution. A previous version of this story misstated the offense.