Prince Andrew is to be questioned under oath by lawyers for Virginia Giuffre in her civil sexual assault case by mid-July next year, a US judge has ruled.
Manhattan District Judge Lewis Kaplan set a deadline of July 14, 2022 to complete depositions in a scheduling order agreed to by attorneys for Andrew and Ms Giuffre
This means the questioning could conflict with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which will take place in June.
Andrew has vehemently denied allegations that he sexually assaulted Ms Giuffre when she was a teenager.
Under what is known as “Mutual Legal Assistance” (MLA), prosecutors and lawyers acting for Ms. Giuffre can issue a formal request for the Prince to testify (known as a deposition) in the Kingdom. -United.
Mutual legal assistance is a method of cooperation between countries or states to obtain assistance in legal proceedings. This assistance is usually requested by courts or prosecutors and is also referred to as “judicial cooperation”.
In civil claims, a formal demand letter, known as the “Rogatory Commission” must be issued under the AMLA. The High Court would then appoint an examiner – either an experienced lawyer or a “master”, a judge who deals with procedural matters before a trial.
Prince Andrew would be required to appear at a location and answer questions under oath in a private hearing. Questions would be asked by lawyers representing Ms Giuffre and Prince Andrew would be entitled to legal representation. He could exercise his right not to incriminate himself and not answer.
Prince Andrew could also seek the quashing of any formal MLA request prior to his dismissal on the grounds that he has no relevant or material evidence to provide.
Ms Giuffre seeks unspecified damages from Andrew, whose attorney has dismissed the charges as “baseless”.
Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who the Duke was once friends with, to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 – a minor under US law.
Andrew has not been charged with any crime.
Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Police said he was not taking any action regarding Ms Giuffre’s allegations.
In an interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis in November 2019, Andrew denied claiming to have slept with Ms Giuffre on three occasions.
He said: “I can absolutely tell you categorically that this never happened.
“I have no memory of ever meeting this lady, none at all.”
The Duke also said he did not recall a photograph showing him with his arm around Ms Giuffre’s waist. He asked if it was his own hand in the picture.