The New York lawyer who is taking Prince Andrew to court over allegations of sexual assault has accused the prince and his legal team of “stonewalling”.
Speaking to Sky News David Boies said the Duke of York and Blackfords, the law firm representing him, have failed to engage with him and his client Virginia Giuffre for five years.
Mr Boies said, “We’ve reached out to Prince Andrew’s legal team, a number of times over the last five years, we’ve made an attempt to engage with him to give him an opportunity to tell his side of the story, to provide any explanation or context, that he might have for his actions to try to resolve this without the necessity of litigation.
“Every such effort has been rebuffed.”
He added: “They have totally stonewalled us just like they’ve stonewalled the criminal prosecutors in the United States.
“As a result, we’ve not been able to have a dialogue with him. They (Prince Andrew’s team) have been totally uncooperative, not only with us, but with all of the lawyers representing victims of Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking.”
Those representing Prince Andrew said they had no comment on the claims made by Mr Boies.
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On Monday night, the lawsuit was filed in the US accusing Prince Andrew of sexually abusing Virginia Giuffre.
Ms Giuffre says she was a victim of financier and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and claims she was made to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17, but he has always categorically denied any sexual contact or relationship with her.
In a BBC Newsnight interview in 2019, Prince Andrew said he had never had sex with Ms Giuffre, saying: “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.”
The duke said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her and that there were “a number of things that are wrong” about her account.
He has also suggested a photo showing him with his arm around Ms Giuffre may have been doctored.
The lawsuit filed on Monday afternoon in a federal court in Manhattan alleges the prince abused Ms Giuffre on three occasions when she was under 18, nearly two decades ago.
Asked if he felt the lawsuit would be enough to get Prince Andrew to answer questions about the allegations Boies said, “Prince Andrew is going to have to now. He can’t ignore the process.
“He can ignore me and ignore my client. He can ignore other victims and their lawyers, but he can’t ignore the court.
“The court process now is going to compel him. If he were to try to ignore the court the way he’s ignored us, there would be a default judgment entered against them.
“That could be enforced in the United States or in England or elsewhere in the world. So I don’t think he’s going to ignore the court. And as a result, he’s going to be held to account.”
Last year Andrew’s legal team said they had been cooperating with authorities in America on the Jeffrey Epstein case, saying the prince had offered himself as a witness on three separate occasions.
Since the allegations from Ms Giuffre first became public in 2015 he has consistently said they are “false and without foundation”.
Who’s who in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal?
Because this new lawsuit is a civil case and not a criminal case Prince Andrew cannot be extradited to America, but there are established legal processes in place for transatlantic civil matters where people are being sued, that could be used if a court decides he must give evidence.
Mr Boies said it wasn’t easy for his client Ms Giuffre to bring the case forward under the New York Child Victims Act, but she wanted to show that even those in positions of power can be held accountable.
He said: “I think it was not a decision that she took lightly because she’s a wife and mother she has responsibilities to her family. She knows that this will take time, be disruptive.
What are the ‘factual allegations’ stated in Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit?
“She knows from past experience that Prince Andrew and his surrogates will engage in extensive attacks on her. And no one enjoys being the recipient of those kinds of attacks.
“However, she has committed herself to trying to bring to account the people who have abused her, not only to vindicate herself but also to try to make sure as much as you can, that what happened to her doesn’t happen to other girls.”
Mr Boies confirmed to Sky News that new evidence and new witness statements will form part of their case when it comes to court for trial, and he anticipates that could be as early as the middle of next year.