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Prince Andrew’s legal team accused of 'stonewalling' Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers
11 August 2021, 00:30 | Updated: 11 August 2021, 00:31
The lawyer representing the Prince Andrew's accuser Virginia Giuffre has claimed the royal's legal team "stonewalled" appeals for information.
Ms Giuffre is suing the Duke of York for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
She 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 the allegations in the past, and a spokesman for the duke said there was "no comment" when she was asked to respond to Ms Giuffre's legal action.
According to the Daily Mail, the duke was seen arriving at the royal Scottish retreat of Balmoral Castle on Tuesday evening and was thought to have been accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.
David Boies, who represents Ms Giuffre, told Channel 4 news: "This is now a matter for courts to decide and it would be very ill-advised for anyone to sort of thumb their nose at a federal court."
He claimed Andrew's lawyers have not co-operated: "They have just totally stonewalled. They have refused to provide any explanation, they refuse to engage in any discussions.
"They refuse to provide any facts, they've even refused to respond to any of the allegations that have been made in any reasonable way. They have basically simply ignored every letter, every phone call, every outreach that we've made."
Mr Boies said his client ultimately wanted "vindication" from her civil suit for damages.
He said she hopes "calling the rich and powerful abusers to account will have some effect on reducing the chance that other young girls will suffer what she suffered".
The duke does not have to attend or give evidence in the civil proceedings in New York, but the legal action will be a further blow to his reputation and the standing of the monarchy, according to Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty Magazine.
He said about the Epstein scandal: "It's damaging not only for Andrew but for the institution of the monarchy itself because all sorts of allegations have been thrown at the institution since all this came to light - and the perception is, most likely incorrectly, they are not taking it seriously."
Andrew stepped back from public duties after the backlash from his 2019 Newsnight interview, dubbed a "car crash", which had attempted to draw a line under his relationship with Epstein - but instead saw him heavily criticised for showing little empathy with the sex offender's victims.
"I can't think of any kind of rehabilitation that will bring him back into the royal fold as a working member of the family," added Mr Little.
Lawyers for Ms Giuffre filed the civil suit seeking unspecified damages at a federal court in New York, where the court documents claim she was "lent out for sexual purposes" by Epstein including while she was still a minor under US law.
Andrew is named as the only defendant in the 15-page suit, brought under New York state's Child Victims Act, although Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.