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Prince Andrew hearing – live: Judge signals support for Giuffre’s team and promises ruling ‘very soon’

Secret Epstein settlement with Prince Andrew accuser to be made public

The judge overseeing Prince Andrew’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre promised to hand down a ruling “very soon” after a heated hearing on Tuesday.

At the heart of the hearing was the confidential settlement Ms Giuffre signed in 2009 with Jeffrey Epstein, whom she accused of sex trafficking her as a teenager and forcing her to have sex with Prince Andrew.

The settlement was unsealed on Monday, revealing Ms Giuffre was paid 2009 and agreed to release Epstein and other “potential defendants” from liability in her claims.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Prince Andrew’s lawyers argued the agreement protects the Duke of York and should be grounds for dismissing her current suit against him.

Judge Lewis Kaplan pushed back hard at that assertion, saying there are multiple possible meanings under the settlement’s vague wording.

He also appeared to hand Ms Giuffre’s lawyers a key argument by noting the settlement bars “any other person” from using the deal in any other case – meaning that Prince Andrew may not be allowed to invoke it in his bid for dismissal.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Kaplan said he will decide if the case can move forward “very soon”.

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Prince Andrew ‘still going to sweat’, says lawyer

Spencer Kuvin, who represented nine Jeffery Epstein survivors, said that Prince Andrew is going to have a hard time on the case.

“It is not clear-cut for his lawyers at all. I think he is going to still have to sweat on this lawsuit for a while. That is, if he can,” he told The Sun, taking a dig at the royal’s alleged inability to sweat.

Attorneys representing plaintiff Virginia Giuffre want the Duke of York to give them information about his alleged medical condition of “anhidrosis, hyperhidrosis”, court documents revealed.

In a 2019 interview with the BBC, the royal claimed that he never got sweaty on the dancefloor with Ms Giuffre in 2001 at a club in London because his medical condition made it impossible for him to sweat.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar5 January 2022 04:25

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Voices | The royal family will survive – regardless of what happens to Prince Andrew

Even in Victorian times, there was royal scandal and gossip; and much, much more since, and yet the institution has survived its exposure to ridicule and generally being poked about by an impertinent press and sometimes scandalised public, writes Sean O’Grady

Read the full voices piece below:

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar5 January 2022 04:01

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ICYMI: Case dismissed against jail guards who ‘slept’ through Epstein’s suicide

Two New York City prison guards who allegedly slept through disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s death have officially been cleared after a judge signed off on their non-prosecution agreement on Monday.

US District Judge Analisa Torres dismissed the case on Monday after the pair completed the terms of their agreement, Fox News reported.

Last May, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas were asked to serve 100 hours of community service over a six-month period.

Epstein died by suicide while awaiting a sex trafficking trial at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in August 2019.

Megan Sheets5 January 2022 04:00

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Prince Andrew’s lawyer also representing Chris Noth

The head of Prince Andrew’s legal team is Andrew B Brettler, a powerful Hollywood lawyer with extensive experience defending clients against sexual assault accusations.

Mr Brettler is a senior partner with Lavely & Singer and has represented several celebrities accused of sexual assault, including Chris Noth, Armie Hammer and Danny Masterson of That 70s Show.

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley explains Mr Brettler’s background:

Megan Sheets5 January 2022 02:00

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When will judge rule on Andrew’s dismissal bid?

At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Kaplan said: “You’ll have a decision pretty soon.”

However, he decline to give any kind of timeline for the decision, joking that doing so would put him under pressure.

The hearing appeared to lean in favour of plaintiff Virginia Giuffre as Judge Kaplan repeatedly grilled her adversary’s lawyer.

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley has more:

Megan Sheets5 January 2022 00:00

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Will Epstein deal protect Prince Andrew? Experts weigh in

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan is currently deciding whether the secret settlement deal between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Roberts Giuffre means Prince Andrew should be granted a dismissal of her sexual abuse case against him.

The 2009 deal between the late paedophile and Ms Giuffre was unsealed on Monday, revealing she was paid $500,000 to settle all of her claims.

The settlement, which does not mention Prince Andrew by name, provided a release for “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant” against Ms Giuffre’s claims.

Journalist and lawyer Lucia Osborne-Crowley explains why the settlement’s vague wording could work in the Duke of York’s favour:

Megan Sheets4 January 2022 23:00

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What were Prince Andrew’s ties to Ghislaine Maxwell?

Prince Andrew’s presence in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial was most keenly felt in a photograph he didn’t appear in.

Government exhibit GX-347 showed a picture of Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein on a porch bench in the grounds of the Queen’s Balmoral estate in the Scottish Highlands.

The photo was taken on a trip the pair took to the royal manor in 1999 as the guest of Prince Andrew.

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley explains the link between Maxwell and the Duke of York:

Megan Sheets4 January 2022 22:00

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Maxwell juror breaks his silence

Prince Andrew’s hearing to dismiss Jeffrey Epstein-accuser Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit came less than a week after the financier’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of sex trafficking charges.

In an exclusive interview, one of the jurors who sealed Maxwell’s fate tells The Independent: “For those who testified, for those who came forward and for those who haven’t come forward. I’m glad that Maxwell has been held accountable.”

Our reporter, Lucia Osborne-Crowley, has more:

Megan Sheets4 January 2022 21:00

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ICYMI: Judge’s jarring remark about ‘nonconsensual intercourse’

Judge Lewis Kaplan caused a stir during Tuesday’s hearing when he appeared to take a shot at a prior president.

Discussing the specificity of Ms Giuffre’s allegations after Prince Andrew’s lawyer called it into question, the judge noted a specific line in the suit which read: “During this encounter, Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff, a child, to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will.”

Judge Kaplan said there isn’t any doubt over the meaning of “nonconsensual sexual intercourse”, adding: “Not since someone else was in the White House.”

The Independent’s Nathan Place has more:

Megan Sheets4 January 2022 20:00

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Top lawyer reacts to hearing

American attorney Lisa Bloom reacted to Tuesday’s hearing by saying: “I’m optimistic that Virginia will get her day in court.”

Ms Bloom, who made headlines for advising Harvery Weinstein when he was accused of sexual assault in 2017, shared her reactions in a Twitter thread.

“Andrew wants her case thrown out on technical grounds. Judge Kaplan aggressively questioned defense on this and appeared unwilling to do it,” she wrote.

Ms Bloom also called out the defence’s contention that New York’s Child Victims Act is unconstitutional:

Megan Sheets4 January 2022 19:00

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