Virginia Joffrey’s lawsuit against Britain’s Prince Andrew could proceed, and a federal judge ruled “in all respects” the Duke of York’s request to dismiss the case.
Joffrey says disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein arranged for Andrew to sexually abuse her when she was a minor. Andrew has repeatedly denied these allegations, stating that he did not participate in the sexual exploitation of minors or witness such behavior.
At a hearing on January 4, lawyers for the British prince argued that a $500,000 settlement reached by Epstein and Joffrey in 2009 should prevent her from suing him. But District Judge Louis A. Kaplan said the settlement, announced earlier this month, is too vague to specifically protect Andrew from a lawsuit.
The complex case touches on a number of civil and criminal laws, from contract law in Florida, where the settlement was created, to abuse laws in New York, where Joffrey says the breach occurred.
Subject matter: Who is the “potential defendant”?
Geoffrey’s deal with Epstein prevents her from suing Epstein and anyone who could be a “potential defendant”. At the court hearing, Prince Andrew’s attorney B. Breitler this phrase to say that the settlement protects Andrew. But the judge disagreed, saying that the term was too broad to make any sense.
What is the distinction of a ‘potential defendant’ from a ‘defendant’? Kaplan’s request, according to Adam Clasfield From the site of law and crime.
In his 44-page judgment, Kaplan wrote: “The defendant insists that he was among ‘other potential defendants’ and has therefore been released” of any allegations by Geoffrey. Ms Joffrey asserts with equal resolve that he was not among the ‘other potential defendants’ as the parties to the 2009 agreement had in mind.
The judge said the 2009 settlement “is far from being a model for clear and precise wording.” But he added that any ambiguity in the document “must be resolved by truth trials, usually a first-instance jury” – not by a judge ruling on an application to dismiss the complaint.
Here is the full text of Kaplan’s verdict:
The prince said Joffrey’s lawsuit lacked sufficient detail
Kaplan delivered his verdict two weeks after Epstein’s longtime partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, was found guilty of trafficking in a minor and other crimes. Joffrey and several other defendants say the husband lured the underage girls into their orbit with the promise of money and prestige, only to sexually exploit them. Geoffrey says in her lawsuit that she “lented Epstein to other powerful men for sexual purposes,” including Andrew.
Joffrey sued the prince in August of 2021, accusing him of raping and sexually assaulting a minor, as well as causing psychological and emotional harm. It is seeking unspecified damages and punitive damages. The suit calls for a trial by jury.
Urging the judge to dismiss the case, Breitler said the lawsuit did not include key details, such as the exact dates and “what the alleged sexual contact happened.” Kaplan said Joffrey provided enough information to follow up.
The Associated Press reported that “the judge read aloud a portion of the lawsuit in which Joffrey alleged ‘involuntary sexual intercourse,'” adding that the account left no doubt as to what it says happened.
Kaplan reiterated in his judgment that Geoffer’s complaint is neither vague nor vague. He also said that the Prince couldn’t get it both ways.
“Andrew’s assertion that he could not reasonably prepare a response to the plaintiff’s allegations clearly contradicts the content of his moving papers, in which he denies Ms. Giuffre’s allegations in unequivocal terms,” the judge wrote.
The suit describes several instances of abuse when Giuffre was under 18
In Geoffrey’s novel, Andrew met Epstein via Maxwell in 1999 and often traveled with the couple on Epstein’s plane. She says the alleged abuse occurred between 2000-2002, when Joffrey was part of Epstein’s inner circle and Andrew was about 40 years old.
Joffrey says Andrew sexually assaulted her in three different places when she was a minor: at Maxwell’s home in London; at Epstein’s Palace in New York; And in Little St. James, Epstein Private Island in the US Virgin Islands. Her lawsuit includes the famous photo of the prince with his arm around Joffrey’s waist – a photo she says was taken shortly before she was abused.
“During this encounter, Epstein, Maxwell and Prince Andrew forced the plaintiff, as a child, to have sex with Prince Andrew against her will,” the lawsuit states.
Referring to another part of the lawsuit, the judge wrote that Joffrey’s claim that she was “forced to sit on defendant’s lap while he was touching her is sufficient to confirm a beating claim under New York law, regardless of which part(s) of her body were ultimately alleged to have been touched by the defendant. “.
Citing an earlier case, Kaplan wrote: “To explain such an allegation, the plaintiff need only allege that there was ‘physical contact, that the contact was abusive and that the defendant intended to make the contact without the consent of the plaintiff’.”
The judge added that such communication would be viewed as abusive if it was “unlawful in all circumstances”, “which is certainly a reasonable inference from Ms Joffrey’s allegations”.
The 2009 settlement is now part of two separate court cases – one between Joffrey v. Andrew and the other in which she and attorney Alan Dershowitz brought defamation charges against each other. Geoffrey said Epstein arranged for her to have sex with Dershowitz when she was a minor. At the time, her last name was Roberts.
Epstein passed away in 2019 at the age of 66. His death sentence is suicide.