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US Judge Sets Deadline For Prince Andrew’s Testimony in Sex Abuse Case

© REUTERS / POOLBritain's Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, looks on during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 99, in Windsor, Britain, April 17, 2021
Britain's Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, looks on during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 99, in Windsor, Britain, April 17, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.10.2021
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The second son of Queen Elizabeth II has been accused by an American woman, Virginia Giuffre, who claims that the royal slept with her at least three times, including when she was an underage girl. The royal has vehemently denied the accusations.
A US judge has set a deadline for Prince Andrew’s testimony in a sex abuse case, ruling that the royal has to be questioned under oath by mid-July 2022. The Duke of York would be required to answer questions asked by the lawyers of his accuser Virginia Giuffre during a private hearing under Mutual League Assistance (MLS), a method of cooperation between countries for obtaining assistance in the investigation or prosecution of criminal offences.

UK media reported that the 61-year-old could exercise the right against self-incrimination and not answer questions. He could also attempt to seek to have any formal MLS request set aside, saying he has no relevant evidence to give.

What Are the Accusations?

On 9 August, Virginia Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit against Prince Andrew in a New York court. She is seeking "accountability" from the royal and is demanding compensation for physical and mental damage. The mother of three is one of the alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein, a US financier who was charged in 2019 with running a sex trafficking network of minors.
Epstein had many acquaintances in high circles – celebrities (Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker), politicians (ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton), entrepreneurs (Bill Gates and Elon Musk), and even royals (Prince Andrew).

Giuffre has claimed that at the age of 17, Epstein and his alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell trafficked her to London, where she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew. She also said that the Duke of York had slept with her two more times without her consent.

The royal has categorically denied the accusations, saying he has an alibi for the day the alleged sexual intercourse occurred in London. He also said he had no recollection of meeting the woman.

The veracity of the latter's statement has been questioned - one woman claims to have seen the royal dancing with Giuffre at a nightclub, and there is at least one photo showing Prince Andrew standing next to a young Giuffre and Epstein’s purported "pimp" Ghislaine Maxwell.

Reports say Prince Andrew is now preparing to hand over "personal documents" for a civil lawsuit in the US. His legal team has until 29 October to respond to the lawsuit. According to The Sunday Telegraph, a remote hearing has been scheduled for 3 November.

Jeffrey Epstein was found hanging in his cell on 10 August 2019 while awaiting trial. His death was ruled a suicide, although some people believe that the financier was murdered by his powerful friends, who may have feared they could be implicated in the scandal. Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested by the FBI in July of 2020 and her trial is scheduled for November.
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