Epstein Accuser’s Lawsuit Against Prince Andrew Can Proceed, Judge Rules

A lawsuit against Prince Andrew brought by Virginia Giuffre, a woman who claimed he raped her when she was a teenager, will be allowed to proceed after a federal judge in Manhattan denied Andrew’s request to dismiss the suit.

Andrew, 61, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and a friend of the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, argued in court papers that he had been released from liability in future lawsuits under the terms of a settlement Ms. Giuffre reached with Mr. Epstein in 2009 in a different lawsuit, in Florida.

Mr. Epstein, 66, was found hanged in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex-trafficking trial. His death was ruled a suicide.

In the Florida case, Mr. Epstein paid Ms. Giuffre $500,000 to settle a lawsuit in which she had accused Mr. Epstein of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager, according to the settlement agreement, which was unsealed this month.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ms. Giuffre had released Mr. Epstein and other “potential defendants” from further litigation, a category that lawyers for Prince Andrew said included him.

In rejecting Andrew’s argument and allowing Ms. Giuffre’s lawsuit to continue, the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court, did not address the merits of Ms. Giuffre’s claims.

Andrew, who has denied Ms. Giuffre’s allegations, has not been charged with any crimes. His name surfaced intermittently in testimony at the recent sex-trafficking trial in Manhattan of Ghislaine Maxwell, Mr. Epstein’s longtime companion, who was convicted of five of the six counts against her. Witnesses testified that Andrew was a friend of Ms. Maxwell and had flown on some of Mr. Epstein’s planes.

Under an agreed-upon scheduling order in the lawsuit, lawyers for Ms. Giuffre and Andrew must complete legal discovery — the exchange of documents and the taking of depositions of experts — by July 14.

Judge Kaplan’s ruling, which was made public on Wednesday, comes as the Queen prepares to mark 70 years on the throne in February, and appears to assure that the lawsuit and any potentially damaging disclosures could continue to cast a shadow over the royal family.

A lawyer for Andrew, the Duke of York, did not respond to a request for comment. Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the ruling.

Ms. Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, said his client was pleased that Andrew’s motion to dismiss had been denied, “and that evidence will now be taken concerning her claims against him.”

“She looks forward to a judicial determination of the merits of those claims,” Mr. Boies said.

In her suit, filed in August, Ms. Giuffre claimed that Andrew sexually abused her when she was younger than 18 at Mr. Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan and on his private island, Little St. James, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Andrew, along with Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell, also forced her to have sexual intercourse with Andrew against her will at Ms. Maxwell’s home in London, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said Ms. Giuffre was compelled by Mr. Epstein, Ms. Maxwell and Andrew to engage in sexual acts with Andrew, and that she feared repercussions if she disobeyed because of “their powerful connections, wealth and authority.”

Mark Landler contributed reporting from London.