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Prince Andrew: Judge will make ruling on whether to throw out Virginia Giuffre’s sex assault lawsuit ‘soon’

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A judge said on Tuesday he will make a decision “pretty soon” on whether to dismiss a civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre against Prince Andrew alleging he sexually assaulted her.

Judge Lewis Kaplan told lawyers for both parties at a hearing in New York: “I appreciate the arguments and the passion.

“You will have a decision pretty soon.”

Lawyers for the Duke of York have been attempting to persuade the judge to throw out the claim.

At the latest hearing, the prince’s lawyer, Andrew B Brettler, said the case against his client filed by Ms Giuffre should “absolutely be dismissed”.

“She has given plenty of interviews all over the world, then files this lawsuit.

“It is unfair, it is unjust, it should be dismissed.”

It comes after a 2009 settlement between his accuser and the late child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was published on Monday.

The $500,000 12-page deal says that Ms Giuffre agrees to “release, acquit, satisfy, and forever discharge” Epstein and “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant” from any further claim.

It did not name any individual by name.

The duke has denied having sex with Ms Giuffre, who says she was forced to have sex with him when she was 17 at the London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. She also says he abused her at two other Epstein properties. There are no criminal proceedings against the prince.

Mr Brettler argued during a video conference hearing that the confidential agreement Ms Giuffre entered into with Epstein ended her right to pursue anyone else.

In the hearing, convened to discuss a motion brought by Andrew’s lawyers to end the civil lawsuit, Mr Brettler said about the settlement: “I don’t know who would be included in other potential defendants - if it weren't all of the other people who... Giuffre alleged abused her.

“She could have sued them and she did not and therefore she waived her rights to sue them when she entered into the 2009 release agreement and accepted the money from Mr Epstein.

“She did not return that money when she decided to file this lawsuit.”

During the hearing there was legal discussion about the meaning of “potential defendant”, with Mr Brettler telling the judge it was “someone who was not named as a defendant but could have been”.

The lawyer added that a potential defendant would be someone Ms Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, knew that she had “claims against at the time that she filed the lawsuit” in 2009.

In response the judge said “potential” was a word in which neither he nor Mr Brettler could “find any meaning at all”.

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