Prince Andrew is no doubt licking his wounds after his latest setback in his court case against Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
A New York judge has dismissed the royal's legal team's attempts to have newspaper cuttings describing Giuffre as a “money-hungry sex kitten” be given as evidence in court.
District Judge Lewis Kaplan refused to consider the press reports, branding the request a PR stunt. He also refused to consider a 139-page manuscript written by Virginia about billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Virginia claims she was groomed as an underage minor by Epstein and his girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, to not only have sex with the financier but also with his rich and famous friends including the Duke of York.
Judge Kaplan said there was “no proper basis” to look at the articles or the manuscript called The Billionaire's Playboy Club - published in 2011 - which he added “appear to have been submitted for whatever public relations purposes the defendants advisers may have had in mind”.
The royal's legal team have filed a 36-page motion to dismiss the US civil suit brought by Virginia in August, in which she claims she was sex trafficked to Andrew on three occasions by Epstein when she was a teenager.
The 61-year-old duke has consistently denied her claims.
In court documents, Andrew's US legal team called Virginia's lawsuit “frivolous”. “She has initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense,” the lawyers said.
They claimed she was profiting from her relationship with Epstein, who committed suicide in jail in 2019, and had secured sums “most people could only dream of” by filing lawsuits against Epstein and Maxwell, which were settled out of court.
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Lawyers also cited a story published in the New York Daily News in 2015 that claimed Virginia actually helped Epstein recruit young women for his sex ring and referenced former friends who had described her as a “money-hungry sex kitten” who enjoyed a lavish lifestyle.
Women's groups have accused Andrew of “victim shaming” Virginia. “The Duke of York seems to be living in the 1950s when abused women were often described as gold diggers,” says Joan Smith, former co-chairperson of the Mayor of London's Violence Against Women and Girls group.
“It is victim shaming and further evidence of his appalling judgment. Andrew is just dragging his reputation further into the gutter.”
Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of NIA, a London-based charity aimed at ending sexual and domestic violence against women, adds, “It is grossly dishonest to claim on one hand that sexual violence is abhorrent and then on the other to brand those seeking legal redress as frivolous money grabbers.”
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Meanwhile Maxwell, who is currently on trial, could face an 80-year prison sentence if found guilty of six sex trafficking charges.
The British socialite has also refused to testify, saying “The government has not proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt and so there is no need for me to testify,” she told the judge in court on Friday.
Prosecutors have called the 59-year-old, who has been in a US jail cell since her arrest last year, a predator who manipulated and groomed young girls for her boyfriend Epstein's pleasure. Over the last two weeks of testimony they called 24 witnesses including four accusers.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, thesun.co.uk, bbc.com