In the United States, Prince Andrew will face a civil action over accusations that he sexually abused a woman when she was 17 years old.
Virginia Giuffre has filed a lawsuit against the prince, alleging that he assaulted her in 2001.
His attorneys argued that the case should be dismissed, citing a 2009 agreement she made with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. However, a New York court concluded that the lawsuit may proceed.
The accusations have been continually refuted by the prince. Buckingham Palace has stated that it will not comment on a pending court case.
Judge Lewis A Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York explained the move to dismiss the complaint in a 46-page opinion.
It means that the case against the Duke of York, 61, might be heard later this year in court.
Judge Kaplan stated that his decision did not assess whether Ms Giuffre’s allegation was “true or false.”
Ms Giuffre expressed her delight that Prince Andrew’s effort to dismiss the matter had been rejected, and that “evidence relating her charges against him will now be taken.”
“She looks forward to a court assessment of the merits of those allegations,” her lawyer, David Boies, said in a statement.
Ms Giuffre claimed in court records that she was a victim of sex trafficking and abuse at the hands of late billionaire financier Epstein.
She claims that being leased out to other powerful men was part of her abuse.
In a 2019 interview with BBC Newsnight, Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son, stated he had no knowledge of ever meeting Virginia Giuffre and that her version of them having sex in the US and UK “didn’t happen.”
When Ms Giuffre resolved her damages action against Epstein in 2009, his attorneys pointed to a court agreement between Ms Giuffre and Epstein not to sue anybody else linked to the billionaire.
They stated the Duke of York was a “possible defendant” as stipulated by the agreement and that the action should be dismissed during a virtual hearing.
Only the parties to the settlement agreement, according to Ms Giuffre’s counsel, could benefit from it, not a “third party.”
Prince Andrew’s claim that the case against him was “legally inadequate” and could not be heard at a future trial was dismissed by Judge Kaplan.
He said the court couldn’t decide whether Prince Andrew was covered by the settlement agreement at this time since it was “ambiguous.”
He stated that his decision did not take into account the “defendant’s efforts to throw doubt on the reality of Ms Giuffre’s charges, even if such efforts would be legal at trial.”
“In a similar spirit and for similar reasons, it is not available to the court at this time to judge, as a matter of fact, what the parties to the release in the 2009 settlement agreement signed by Ms Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein truly meant,” Judge Kaplan continued.
The attorneys for Prince Andrew might file an appeal against Judge Kaplan’s ruling, but they’d need his permission to do so, and legal experts think the phrasing of his judgment implies it won’t be given.