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Prince Andrew seeking jury trial in US sex abuse case

Britain’s Prince Andrew has asked for a United States jury trial as he again denied Virginia Giuffre’s accusations that he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17.

Giuffre, 38, sued the Duke of York last August, alleging he battered her while the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.

In a filing with the US District Court in Manhattan, Andrew, 61, admitted to meeting Epstein in or around 1999, but denied Giuffre’s claim that he “committed sexual assault and battery” upon her.

“Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint,” his attorney wrote in a motion on Wednesday.

David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre, said in a statement that Andrew was trying to “blame the victim”.

“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms. Giuffre for her own abuse,” Boies said.

The prince has not been criminally charged and has denied the allegations, which have left him in disgrace and forced him to withdraw from royal duties.

Earlier this month, the British royal family stripped Andrew of his military roles and royal patronages and said he will no longer be known as “His Royal Highness”.

“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on January 13.

Giuffre alleges that Andrew sexually assaulted her at the London home of socialite and Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell in March 2001.

Late last month, a US jury found Maxwell guilty of aiding Epstein in the sexual abuse of teenage girls.

Andrew’s filing on Wednesday was an “answer”, a common document in US litigation in which defendants deny or say they lack enough information to comment on plaintiffs’ substantive accusations.

The prince’s lawyers had previously called Giuffre’s lawsuit “baseless” and accused her of seeking another payday. Giuffre received $500,000 in a 2009 civil settlement with Epstein.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan has said a trial could begin between September and December 2022. If Giuffre won at trial, Andrew could owe her damages. She has asked for an unspecified amount.

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