Prince Andrew: Duke of York served with legal papers for sexual assault lawsuit, according to US court document

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Prince Andrew has been served with the legal papers for a lawsuit in which he is accused of sexual abuse, according to a court document.

Lawyers representing Virginia Giuffre - who is suing the Duke of York - say in the document that the civil lawsuit was handed to a Metropolitan Police officer on duty at the main gates of The Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park, on 27 August.

The prince has always categorically denied any sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.

Sources close to the Queen's son say he has not been served the papers in person, and could not confirm if security had received the document.

Ms Giuffre claims she was a victim of financier and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Lisa Bloom is a lawyer who represents eight victims of Epstein. Although she does not represent Ms Giuffre, one of her clients is a witness who alleges she saw Prince Andrew and Ms Giuffre together in London.

She told Sky News this is a "colossal development", adding: "Apparently he has been served. That means it's game on for the lawsuit - it goes forward.

"That means that after a couple of weeks pass, her attorneys will be able to subpoena records, documents, logbooks, calendars, photos, texts, emails - anything that he or anybody else may have that will become relevant to the lawsuit and that would show, for example, that the two of them were together in New York at the places and times where she says that they were."

When asked whether it was likely that Prince Andrew will face a deposition, she added: "Absolutely - I would be very surprised if a judge says he does not have to appear at all."

She also claims she was made to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17, and a lawsuit was filed last month in a federal court in Manhattan.

According to the document, there was a first attempt to serve the papers on the prince on 26 August, when an agent went to Windsor Great Park.

A Metropolitan Police officer who was the head of security said they had been told not to accept service of any court process, or let anyone trying to serve legal papers on to the property.

The agent then returned the following 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".

Prince Andrew is the only defendant in Ms Giuffre's civil suit, though Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.

"In this country no person, whether president or prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law's protection," Ms Giuffre's lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit is the first time Ms Giuffre has directly confronted Andrew in such a formal setting.

Ms Giuffre states she was recruited by Maxwell into Epstein's sex trafficking operation when she was working at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

She said between 2000 and 2002 she was flown all over the world by Epstein and sexually abused by him at "numerous locations".

Members of staff at Epstein's properties have confirmed seeing Prince Andrew at his homes, both to the media and in sworn testimony.

Ms Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of abusing her a number of times, on separate occasions.

The court documents state: "Prince Andrew committed sexual assault and battery upon Plaintiff when she was 17 years old."

In a BBC Newsnight interview in 2019, Prince Andrew said he had never had sex with Ms Giuffre, saying: "I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened."

The duke said he had "no recollection" of ever meeting her and that there were "a number of things that are wrong" about her account.

He has also suggested a photo showing him with his arm around Ms Giuffre may have been doctored.

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