Prince Andrew, Duke of York, has been served with a sexual assault lawsuit filed against him by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, according to New York federal court records.
Andrew is being sued in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York by Virginia Giuffre, 38, who alleges the duke sexually abused her on multiple occasions in New York, London, and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands between 2000 and 2002 when she was under the age of 18.
The duke has repeatedly denied having sex with Giuffre, most notably in a disastrous November 2019 BBC interview in which he attempted to defend himself, claiming to have never met her. Shortly after the interview aired, Andrew announced that he was “stepping back” from royal public duties.
The affidavit of service filed Friday states that a member of Andrew’s security team formally received notice of the lawsuit against him at his home, Royal Lodge on the grounds of Windsor Castle, on Aug. 27.
In the affidavit, Cesar Augusto Sepulveda said that it took him two days to deliver the documents because on his first attempt on Aug. 26, Andrew’s security team told him that they had been instructed not to accept service of any court process or “allow anyone attending there for the purpose of serving court process onto the grounds of the property.”
When he returned the next day, Sepulveda met with Andrew’s head of security, who told him he could leave the documents with one of the Royal Lodge guards and they would be forwarded to the duke’s legal team. The head of security refused to allow Sepulveda to serve Andrew in person.
The documents list London-based criminal defense attorney Gary Bloxsome as the duke’s lawyer. BuzzFeed News reached out to Bloxsome for comment on the affidavit of service and the document’s claim that his security team had been instructed not to receive court documents. He did not respond.
However, according to ABC News, Bloxsome reportedly questioned the legality of the service and called Giuffre’s legal team’s actions “regrettable” in a letter obtained by the network. In the document, which ABC News said was sent by Bloxsome to British judicial official senior master Barbara Fontaine on Sept. 6, the lawyer claimed that the way in which the lawsuit was served makes the service invalid under British law.
“Absent being satisfied of some very good reason to do so, our client is highly unlikely to be prepared to agree to any form of alternative service while the approach to service of these proceedings remains irregular and the viability of the claim remains open to doubt,” Bloxsome reportedly wrote.
The first pretrial conference will take place virtually via telephone on Monday. It is unclear whether lawyers representing Andrew will participate at all, as no documents have been filed in federal court in his defense.
Giuffre was one of many women to accuse Andrew’s longtime associate, Epstein, of underage sexual abuse.
Epstein, a prominent financier, killed himself in a federal detention center on Aug. 10, 2019, while facing charges of sexually trafficking and abusing dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14.
In her complaint against Andrew, filed on Aug. 9, Giuffre claimed that she was “compelled by express or implied threats” by Epstein, his then-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, and Andrew himself to have sex with the duke. The complaint included a picture of 17-year-old Giuffre, then Virginia Roberts, and Andrew, who has his arm around her waist.
Andrew, the complaint states, sexually abused her “knowing that she was a sex-trafficking victim being forced to engage in sexual acts with him.”
In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News on the day of the lawsuit’s filing, Giuffre said she was finally “holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me.”
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