Hollywood lawyer to represent Duke of York in US sex assault case

·3-min read

The Duke of York has hired a top lawyer with a long history of working with the rich and famous to represent him in his civil sexual assault case.

The duke has recruited Andrew B Brettler to fight allegations made by Virginia Giuffre that he sexually assaulted her while she was still a teenager.

Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend, and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, to have sex with the duke, when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.

Andrew has vehemently denied all the allegations.

Order of the Garter 2015
The Duke of York, pictured with his brother, the Prince of Wales, is facing claims of sexual assault (Peter Nicholls/PA)

Documents submitted to the US district court for the southern district of New York revealed that Mr Brettler will attend a pre-trial hearing involving Ms Giuffre’s representatives scheduled for 9pm on Monday.

The news comes following speculation in the media that the duke’s legal representatives would refuse to cooperate with the proceedings.

It is thought the main issue to be resolved at the initial hearing will be whether the court is satisfied Andrew has been served with notice of the proceedings.

Mr Brettler, a part of the law firm Lavely and Singer, was listed as one of Hollywood’s top 100 attorneys by the Hollywood Reporter in 2019, the firm’s website said.

He has represented the likes of That 70s Show star Danny Masterson, producer and director Bryan Singer, and musician Ryan Adams, the Hollywood Reporter said.

The attorney has carved out a successful career defending allegations arising from the #MeToo movement.

Ms Giuffre may have to wait until 2024 before she has her day in court and is able to repeat her allegations before a judge, a legal expert has warned.

She is seeking unspecified damages but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.

Jeffrey Epstein death
Broadcaster Emily Maitlis interviews Andrew during his Newsnight appearance (Mark Harrison/BBC)

David Greene, a senior partner with law firm Edwin Coe, said about the final trial: “I’d been surprised if it took place next year and I’d be surprised if it took place the year after, 2023.

“It’s a highly complex issue and I think it will take quite some time to come in front of the court.”

The duke does not face the prospect of an extradition hearing as this only applies to criminal charges and not civil cases.

David Boies, who represents Ms Giuffre, has accused the royal’s legal team of having “stonewalled” appeals for information.

In court documents filed on Friday, Ms Giuffre’s lawyers stated there was a first attempt to serve the papers on the duke on August 26, when an agent went to Windsor Great Park.

They state that a Metropolitan Police officer, who was the head of security, told the agent officers were not able to accept service of any court process, or let anyone trying to serve legal papers on to the property.

The agent returned the next day and was told the court process could be left with the police officer at the main gate “and that this matter would then be forwarded on to the legal team”.

Andrew has stepped back from public duties amid the fallout from his relationship with Epstein.

It came after a 2019 Newsnight interview which saw him attempt to draw a line under his relationship with Epstein, who died in prison two years ago, but it ended up being dubbed a “car crash”.

During the programme he denied claims that he slept with Ms Giuffre on three separate occasions, saying: “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.

“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

According to The Daily Mail, he was last seen arriving at the Queen’s Scottish retreat of Balmoral Castle in August and was thought to have been accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York.

Lawyers for Ms Giuffre filed the civil suit against the duke citing allegations of battery by sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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