Prince Andrew is accused of ‘victim shaming’ by branding Virginia Giuffre a publicity-hungry liar who made up her claims of sexual assault for a ‘payday’
The Duke of York faced an immediate backlash from women’s groups after his lawyers filed a blistering 36-page motion to dismiss the US civil suit brought by Ms Giuffre in which she accuses the Royal of rape.
The 38-year-old, previously known by her maiden named Roberts, claims she was allegedly sex trafficked to Andrew on three occasions by convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the first time when she was 17 and below the legal age of consent under New York law.
The 61-year-old Duke has consistently and vehemently denied her claims.
Prince Andrew pictured with Virginia Roberts in London in 2001
Virginia Giuffre during a news conference outside Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on August 27, 2019
In court documents filed on Friday night, Andrew’s US legal team called Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit ‘frivolous’, saying: ‘She has initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense.’
The contents of the court papers outraged women’s groups and campaigners, with Andrew’s lawyers claiming Ms Giuffre had secured sums ‘most people could only dream of’ by filing lawsuits against Epstein and his associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, that were settled out of court.
Joan Smith, former co-chairwoman of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women group said: ‘The Duke of York seems to be living in the 1950s when abused women were often described as gold diggers. Accusing a known victim of sexual exploitation of being motivated by money is about as low as you can get.
‘It is victim shaming and further evidence of his appalling judgment. Andrew is just dragging his reputation further into the gutter.’
Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of NIA, a London-based charity aimed at ending sexual and domestic violence against women, said: ‘His lack of empathy and contempt for the victim-survivors of sexual violence is deplorable.
‘It is grossly dishonest to claim on one hand that sexual violence is abhorrent and then on the other to brand those seeking legal redress as frivolous money grabbers.’ Meanwhile Ms Giuffre’s lawyer last night said she may subpoena Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and force them to testify under oath.
The Duke of York faced an immediate backlash from women’s groups after his lawyers filed a blistering 36-page motion to dismiss the US civil suit brought by Ms Giuffre in which she accuses the Royal of rape
Sigrid McCawley and her team are examining Andrew’s infamous 2019 BBC Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis for ‘inconsistencies.’ She wants to quiz Andrew’s ex-wife and daughters about his alibi, including that he was in Pizza Express in Woking on the day in 2001 when Ms Giuffre claims she was first forced to sleep with him.
Ms Giuffre’s legal team may also seek the Duke’s medical records after he claimed he could not have been ‘sweating profusely’ on a dance floor, as Ms Giuffre alleged, because he suffers from a medical condition which stops him perspiring.
In his motion to dismiss, Andrew’s Californian lawyer Andrew Brettler said: ‘For over a decade Giuffre has profited from her allegations. Most people could only dream of obtaining the sums of money that Giuffre has secured for herself over the years.
‘This presents a compelling motive for Giuffre to continue filing frivolous lawsuits against individuals such as Prince Andrew whose sullied reputation is only the latest collateral damage of the Epstein scandal.
‘Giuffre has initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense and at the expense of those closest to him.’
A legal source familiar with the case told the MoS: ‘It is not a good look for Andrew and his team to victim shame his accuser. This could backfire badly in the court of public opinion.’
The first pre-trial hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday in New York.