The Duke of York has officially received court papers relating to a sexual assault lawsuit, US officials have confirmed.
The complainant, Virginia Giuffre, is seeking damages after alleging Andrew sexually assaulted her, a claim he vehemently denies.
Her lawyers said earlier this month the duke had officially been served with the papers, but his legal team disputed the claim.
The issue of whether or not Andrew had been notified about the case – known as service of proceedings – was contested during the first pre-trial hearing of the civil case last week in New York.
But it has now been confirmed the papers were served on September 21. The duke has until October 29 to provide a response.
Child Victims Act
Giuffre is suing the Queen’s son for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
She is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.
Court documents show that lawyers for both sides spoke on September 21 and the time for the duke to respond was extended.
In a statement earlier this year, Giuffre said the lawsuit was brought under the Child Victims Act to allege she was trafficked to him and sexually abused by him.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” she said.
“The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but to reclaim one’s life by speaking out and demanding justice.”
“I did not come to this decision lightly,” she added. “As a mother and a wife, my family comes first — and I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates — but I knew if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down.”
In 2019, the duke told BBC Newsnight that he never had sex with Giuffre, saying: “It didn’t happen.”
He said he has “no recollection” of ever meeting her and told an interviewer there are “a number of things that are wrong” about Giuffre’s account, which alleges the encounter occurred in 2001.
“I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,” Andrew said.
Epstein and Maxwell
According to the lawsuit, the duke abused Giuffre on multiple occasions when she was under the age of 18.
It said that on one occasion, the prince sexually abused her in London at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell.
On another occasion, the duke assaulted her in Epstein’s New York mansion, the lawsuit claimed.
The lawsuit also alleged that Andrew abused Giuffre on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
During each of the alleged acts, Giuffre was given “express or implied threats” by Epstein, Maxwell, and/or the duke, the lawsuit said.
It said that she “feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying” the trio because of their “powerful connections, wealth, and authority”, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit added that Andrew knew her age at the time based on communications with Epstein and Maxwell. It said he went ahead anyway “for the purpose of gratifying his sexual desires”.
Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court, where she faces trial in November.
Epstein, 66, took his own life in a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019, a month after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges.