Prince Andrew’s solicitor on Tuesday struggled to convince a New York judge that a civil lawsuit against the royal family of Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre – who is seeking unspecified damages alleges that Andrew raped her three times when she was 17 – should be removed.
The judge was unimpressed with attorney Andrew B. Brettler’s key argument that the prince get out of legal jeopardy using the terms of a $500,000 settlement Giuffre signed with Epstein in 2009.
The judge suggested language in the contract meant its terms could only be invoked by Epstein and Giuffre, and not by third parties like Prince Andrew.
The judge’s pursuit of this line of reasoning seems to surprise both parties.
It is expected that the debate will center on whether Andrew is covered by the 2009 settlement, which states that Giuffre has agreed to “permanently discharge … any person or entity… other may be considered as potential defendants” from future legal activity.
Brettler argued that Andrew was “apparently” included in the category of “other potential defendants”.
Giuffre’s attorney, David Boies, replied that the 2009 category was unrelated to Andrew because: “There is no allegation that Prince Andrew was the carrier. There are no allegations that Prince Andrew falls into the category of human traffickers. He was the one to whom the girls had been trafficked. “
However, the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, then took the initiative to point the Boies about a portion of the 12-page settlement stating that Epstein and Giuffre had agreed “that the provisions of this Settlement are not intended to intended use for any other person”, asks what he thinks is the “meaning” of the words.
The judge asked Boies: “What effect might that have on the defendants’ assertion that this release was construed in his way as being usable in this case?”
Boies, who later apologized for his “slowness” in catching up with the judge, was distracted by the discussion of determining first and second parties, prompting the judge himself to spell it out. , says: “The defendant is ‘any other person’. [Prince Andrew] are in the category of people who are not authorized to use the terms of the settlement. “
Boise said: “What the court is saying is that the parties clearly, under the terms of the agreement, exclude…”
Judge said, “Used by a third party.”
Boies said: “Exactly, it was Prince Andrew. Prince Andrew can’t do that. The only person who can confirm this release in this case…”
The judge ended his sentence, “It will be Epstein.”
Brettler responded by saying that was not “a reasonable interpretation” of the passage and that “it would not be reasonable for them to include language that frees other potential defendants if those other potential defendants has no right to use that contract as an affirmative defense. ”
However, the judge said that this line of argument “moved to paragraph 4, which states that all this must be kept confidential. They will not give anyone a copy of this agreement and the terms cannot be disclosed. “
The judge said: “[I think] that second paragraph leaves the exercise of any rights over Other Potential Respondents, whoever they may be, in the hands of the contracting parties [Epstein and Giuffre]. To draw a line below that, paragraph four says that the signatories will not tell anyone about the agreement. “
The judge closed the hearing by saying he would make a decision “fairly soon,” but specifically noted that there were no findings and the order to reschedule was in effect.
If he can sweat these days, it looks like Andrew will now.