NEW YORK – A lawsuit by an American who claims Prince Andrew sexually abused her when she was 17 might have to be thrown out because she no longer lives in the U.S., lawyers for the Prince said in a court filing Tuesday.
Attorneys Andrew Brettler and Melissa Lerner wrote that they recently discovered Virginia Giuffre has lived in Australia all but two of the last 19 years and cannot claim she's a resident of Colorado, where she hasn't lived since at least 2019.
In an August lawsuit, Virginia Giuffre claimed that the prince abused her on multiple occasions in 2001.
The prince's lawyers in October asked Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to throw out the lawsuit, saying the prince “never sexually abused or assaulted” Giuffre and they believed she sued Andrew “to achieve another payday at his expense and at the expense of those closest to him.” The lawyers acknowledged that Giuffre may well be a victim of sexual abuse by financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial.
Last month, Kaplan said a trial in Giuffre's lawsuit against the prince could occur between September and December 2022.
But the prince's lawyers say the new information about Giuffre's residence should result in the suspension of any further progress in the lawsuit toward trial, which would include depositions of Andrew and Giuffre, until the issue is settled as to whether her foreign residence disqualifies her from suing Andrew in the U.S.
They asked the judge to order Giuffre to respond to written legal requests about her residency and submit to a two-hour deposition on the issue.
An attorney for Giuffre, Sigrid McCawley, called the request to toss out the case “just another in a series of tired attempts by Prince Andrew to duck and dodge the legal merits of the case Virginia Giuffre has brought against him. All parties in litigation are subject to discovery and Prince Andrew is no exception.”
The prince's attorneys wrote that Giuffre has an Australian driver's license and was living in a $1.9 million home in Perth, Western Australia, where she has been raising three children with her husband, who is Australian.
“Even if Ms. Giuffre’s Australian domicile could not be established as early as October 2015, there can be no real dispute that she was permanently living there with an intent to remain there as of 2019 — still two years before she filed this action against Prince Andrew,” the lawyers wrote.
They said the timing of Giuffre's registration to vote in Colorado prior to filing the lawsuit against the prince was “suspicious and appears to be a calculated move in an effort to support her specious claim of citizenship in Colorado despite having moved to Australia at least a year (if not four years) earlier.”
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they choose to come forward publicly, as Giuffre has.