A United States judge has rejected a bid by the United Kingdom’s Prince Andrew to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit accusing the duke of York of sexually abusing her when she was 17 and being trafficked by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
In a decision made public on Wednesday, New York Judge Lewis Kaplan said in his ruling that the British royal’s motion to dismiss the complaint was “denied in all respects”.
Kaplan in Manhattan said it was premature to consider the prince’s efforts to cast doubt on Giuffre’s accusations, that he battered her and intentionally caused her emotional distress, though he would be allowed to do so at a trial.
Lawyers for Andrew and Giuffre as well as Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Andrew has denied Giuffre’s accusations that he forced her to have sex more than two decades ago at the London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and abused her at two other Epstein properties.
The decision clears the way for Giuffre’s case against Andrew to stay on track for a trial that Kaplan has said could begin late this year.
While the prince is not accused of criminal wrongdoing, his ties to Epstein have damaged his reputation and cost him many royal duties.
Prince Andrew’s lawyers had said the lawsuit lacked specificity and was disqualified by a deal she reached in 2009 with lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein.