What awaits Prince Andrew after the rejection by justice in New York of his appeal against the civil complaint of an American who accuses him of sexual assault in 2001, when she was 17 years old?
For lawyers interviewed by AFP, if the second son of Queen Elizabeth II does not find a financial agreement with the plaintiff, Virginia Giuffre, 38, he will be tried in civil matters with a minimal risk for him of a trial criminal.
Can he appeal?
Yes. Following the decision made public Wednesday by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, lawyers for the British prince can appeal. In theory, they even have the possibility of appealing to the Supreme Court of the United States, but experts doubt that the procedure will go that far.
What civil lawsuit?
If all of Andrew’s remedies against Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit fail, civil lawsuit could be held “between September and December” this year, Judge Kaplan said in the fall of 2021.
In this case, the Duke of York, who rejects “categorically” Ms. Giuffre’s charges, will be required to give an affidavit in a lawyer’s office, possibly in the UK, and answer questions for US counsel from the complainant.
“It’s a less formal setting than a court, but it can be very long, take hours and be quite aggressive”, explains to AFP a former prosecutor, Bennett Gershman.
The prince’s answers would then be submitted as evidence before a jury in a civil lawsuit charged with ruling on financial compensation for the plaintiff.
“If he does not appear, he will be tried by default and his judgment will be unfavorable.”, also warns the New York lawyer Richard Signorelli.
Can Andrew be prosecuted?
The complaint Virginia Giuffre filed in New York in August 2021 for “sexual assault” allegedly perpetrated in 2001 in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands – the residences of sexual predators Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, a couple of friends of the prince – cannot be converted into criminal prosecution for sex crimes.
But nothing in the future prevents US prosecutors from bringing criminal charges against Andrew if they believe he may have indeed committed a crime.
However, for the former prosecutor Roger Canaff, possible criminal proceedings for “sexual assault” would not have “legal basis” for US federal justice and would be prescribed at the New York State level.
In addition, even if the British royal prince would not benefit from diplomatic immunity, according to the press, American lawyers believe that it would be very difficult to have him extradited to the United States for possible trial there.