Judge sets deadline for Prince Andrew's testimony in sex-assault case

26 October 2021, 00:48

Prince Andrew has denied all sexual assault allegations made against him by Virginia Giuffre.
Prince Andrew has denied all sexual assault allegations made against him by Virginia Giuffre. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Prince Andrew, who is accused of sexually abusing an American woman when she was a teenager, must make himself available to answer questions under oath by mid-July of next year, a judge in the US has ruled.

While not specified in the court papers, both Andrew and his accuser Virginia Giuffre are expected to answer questions under oath.

And depositions must be completed on or before July 14, district judge Lewis Kaplan, who serves in the Southern District of New York, said.

Andrew vehemently denies allegations he sexually assaulted Ms Giuffre when she was a teenager.

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations will take place in June, potentially setting up a clash with Andrew's legal issues over the summer.

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She is seeking unspecified damages from the 61-year-old, whose lawyer has dismissed the accusations as "baseless".

In the scheduling order, signed by lawyers for both parties, the judge also ruled a pretrial order, which sets out the course of the case, is due by July 28.

And no additional parties are allowed to join the case after December 15.

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

Andrew has not been charged with any crime.

Earlier this month the Metropolitan Police said it was taking no action over Ms Giuffre's claims.

The case has proved ruinous for the duke's image.

In a Newsnight interview with the BBC's Emily Maitlis in November 2019, Andrew denied claims that he slept with Ms Giuffre on three separate occasions and said: "I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.

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

The duke also said he has no memory of a well-known photograph of him with his arm around Ms Giuffre's waist and has questioned whether it was his own hand in the image.

The fallout from the interview saw the royal criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein's victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with the disgraced financier.