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Prince Andrew's lawyers ask New York court to throw out sex abuse claims

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By Euronews  with AFP, AP
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Britain's Prince Andrew speaks during a television interview at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor, England, Sunday, April 11, 2021.
Britain's Prince Andrew speaks during a television interview at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor, England, Sunday, April 11, 2021.   -   Copyright  Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP, File

Lawyers for the UK's Prince Andrew have asked a US court to throw out sexual assault accusations made by a woman who claims she was trafficked to the British royal by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

On Monday the details were made public of a 2009 deal Virginia Giuffre made with Epstein to settle her lawsuit in return for for $500,000 (€442,600) and to refrain from suing any other "potential defendant" among Epstein's entourage.

The prince’s lawyers say that language should bar Virginia Giuffre from suing Andrew now, even though he wasn’t a party to the original settlement.

In a hearing in New York on Tuesday, Andrew Brettler, an attorney for Andrew -- the Duke of York -- argued that Giuffre had abandoned her rights to bring legal action against them when she signed that deal and received money from the American millionaire.

Giuffre sued the prince in August, saying he had sexually assaulted her multiple times in 2001 when she was 17 and was called Virginia Roberts. Her legal team has claimed that the terms of her 2009 deal are irrelevant to Andrew's case.

Judge Lewis A Kaplan said he would communicate his decision "pretty soon".

Prince Andrew -- Queen Elizabeth's second son -- withdrew from royal duties following a widely criticised broadcast interview in late 2019 in which he denied having had sex with Giuffre and said he did not recall having met her.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in August 2019 as he awaited trial in the United States on sex trafficking charges that didn't involve Andrew.

His former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, was convicted last week in Manhattan on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges related to several women after a month-long trial. Giuffre was not one of the alleged victims in that case.