Prince Andrew seeks jury trial if Virginia Giuffre lawsuit not dismissed

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By Euronews  with AP
In this Nov. 3, 2019 file photo, Britain's Prince Andrew arrives at ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
In this Nov. 3, 2019 file photo, Britain's Prince Andrew arrives at ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) in Nonthaburi, Thailand.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, file

Prince Andrew wants a jury to decide a lawsuit by a sexual assault accuser if he can't get the case dismissed altogether, his lawyers said in court papers Wednesday.

Virginia Giuffre, an American, has accused the British royal of sexually abusing her when she was 17 while she traveled with financier Jeffrey Epstein. The request from Andrew's lawyers was inside a line-by-line formal response to the lawsuit Giuffre filed against him in August in Manhattan federal court.

Andrew has strenuously denied Giuffre’s allegations, and attempted to get the lawsuit tossed. Earlier this month, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected his attempt to win an early dismissal, allowing depositions and other evidence gathering by both parties to move forward.

Wednesday's response was filed by Los Angeles attorneys Andrew Brettler and Melissa Lerner. They said the lawsuit should be dismissed on several grounds, again citing Giuffre's permanent residency in Australia and a settlement over a decade earlier between Epstein and Giuffre that Andrew's lawyers contend prevents her from suing the prince. They also argued that she consented to sexual activity and the statute of limitations has expired.

Giuffre asserted that she met Andrew while she traveled frequently with Epstein between 2000 and 2002, when her lawyers maintain she was “on call for Epstein for sexual purposes” and was “lent out to other powerful men,” including Andrew. Her lawsuit said she still suffers significant emotional and psychological distress and harm.

In the wake of the judge's decision earlier in January, Prince Andrew — who had already stepped back from royal duties — was stripped of his honorary military titles.

Epstein, 66, took his own life in a Manhattan federal lockup in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. Giuffre has also leveled allegations at Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's longtime companion, but was not part of the criminal case that ended recently with Maxwell's conviction on sex trafficking charges.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they choose to come forward publicly, as Giuffre has.