In a court filing Tuesday, lawyers for Prince Andrew say a lawsuit by an American who claims he sexually abused her when she was 17 might have to be thrown out because she no longer lives in the United States.
Attorneys Andrew Brettler and Melissa Lerner said they recently discovered that 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 filed in federal court in New York, Giuffre claimed 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. 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.
A message seeking comment from Giuffre to the latest filing by the prince’s lawyers was sent to a spokesperson for her lawyers.
Last month, Kaplan said a trial in Giuffre’s lawsuit against the prince could be held 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 progress in the lawsuit toward trial, including depositions of Andrew and Giuffre, until the issue is settled as to whether her foreign residence disqualifies her from suing the prince 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.
The lawyers 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.
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.