The prospect of Prince Andrew avoiding harmful new revelations over the sex abuse allegations against him was diminishing on Thursday as Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer warned that she is determined to be “vindicated” in her claims against him.
David Boies said that Ms Giuffre, who accuses the Duke of York of sexually abusing her in New York, London and the US Virgin Islands when she was a teenager, would not accept a purely financial settlement to stop her claims being heard in court.
Instead, he said that it was “very important” to his client that “this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims” and predicted that there is a “good” likelihood of a trial going ahead later this year as planned at which Andrew’s defence would be put under scrutiny.
“His approach has been to deny, deny, deny, to blame Virginia, criticise her, attack her morals, attack her credibility, and we’ll see how all that plays out when he’s under oath.”
Mr Boies added that “additional evidence is coming out all the time” and that the “next step for sure” will be “the taking of evidence from Prince Andrew”, his client and witnesses. The prince has denied meeting Ms Giuffre and strongly denies any wrongdoing.
The comments from Mr Boies follow the decision by New York judge Lewis Kaplan to reject Prince Andrew’s attempt to have Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit against him thrown out.
The prince’s lawyers had argued that a $500,000 settlement agreed in 2009 between Ms Giuffre and the late financier and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein covered Andrew and prevented any litigation against him over similar sex abuse claims.
But Judge Kaplan dismissed the argument, paving the way for the case to go to trial unless Prince Andrew reaches a deal with Ms Giuffre.
The prince’s lawyers are expected to continue to contest the case, with sources pointing out that the judge’s ruling was not on the merits of Ms Giuffre’s allegations but simply whether she was entitled to take them to court.
Mr Boies said no offer had been made so far and indicated that Ms Giuffre would not accept any settlement clearing Andrew of liability.
“A purely financial settlement is not I think anything that she is interested in,” he said. He added that a previous attempt by Ms Giuffre to offer mediation had attracted “no interest” from Andrew and that although “we’ll have to wait and see” whether that has changed, preparations for trial would continue.
“Additional evidence is coming out all the time. People have come forward that had not come forward before to identify seeing Prince Andrew and Virginia together. If you asked what are the chances that this case goes to trial, I think that’s good,” he said.
Meanwhile, other lawyers predicted that the prince would be unable to escape further damage as the lawsuit progresses.
Gloria Allred, who represents several of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, said many of her clients had been denied their chance to pursue him because of his death but that “it appears that Virginia will now have her day in court”. She added: “I’ve been doing civil lawsuits for 47 years and some of them are the claims that we have pursued against powerful men so we know what it is to fight the good fight for victims.”
Ms Allred said that the discovery process, which is already underway in preparation for trial, would include the provision of “email, texts, cellphone records, flight records, hotel records, scheduling records, so that the attorneys can try to put together the pieces of puzzle to see where Prince Andrew was, where she was, where others were”.
Julie Rendelman, a criminal defence lawyer, said that although Andrew could choose different ways to deal with the claim, “none of the options are the best options for him”.
They included “a monetary settlement with the complainant” which would come with “reputational damage”, going to trial, or ignoring the lawsuit and accepting a “default judgment”.
She said this would be “very ridiculous decision... because there would be a finding against him”.
Looming decisions for the prince if the trial goes ahead include whether to go to New York to testify in person, which most observers believe he is unlikely to do, even if requested by the court. Any pre-trial video testimony is expected to be recorded in Britain.