Lawyers for Britain’s Prince Andrew have urged a US court to throw out a civil case that centres on accusations he sexually abused Virginia Giuffre when she was a teenager.
In filings with the US District Court in Manhattan, the Duke of York called Ms Giuffre's lawsuit “baseless” and an effort to “achieve another payday” out of her accusations against Jeffrey Epstein — a registered sex offender — and his associates.
The prince also claimed he was shielded from Ms Giuffre's case because, he says, she is bound by a 2009 settlement agreement with billionaire Epstein, who died while in prison on remand for sex trafficking offences.
“Virginia Giuffre may well be a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein, and nothing can excuse, nor fully capture, the abhorrence and gravity of Epstein's monstrous behaviour against Giuffre, if so,” Mr Andrew's lawyers wrote.
“However, and without diminishing the harm suffered as a results of Epstein's alleged misconduct, Prince Andrew never sexually abused or assaulted Giuffre,” they added. “He unequivocally denies Giuffre's false allegations against him.”
Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, denies all the allegations against him.
David Boies, a lawyer for Ms Giuffre, 38, said in a statement that the prince’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit “fails to confront the serious allegations” it contained.
He also said the settlement agreement “on its face” applies “at most” to people involved in underlying litigation in Florida, thereby excluding the prince.
“Prince Andrew's attempt now to use the 2009 release as a get out of jail free card shows how desperate he is to dodge and duck the facts of what he did,” Mr Boies said.
Epstein was 66 when he killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019.
The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, the state's top law enforcer, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Prince Andrew has not been charged with crimes.
He gave up many royal duties and lost support from charities and organisations after a disastrous 2019 BBC interview in which he did not appear sympathetic towards Epstein's victims.