Now that Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted in the Jeffrey Epstein sexual abuse saga, the next case to follow will be that brought by one of the victims Virginia Giuffre against Prince Andrew. On Saturday, a federal judge blocked an effort by his lawyers to say that he did not have to turn over documents pertaining to the case since Giuffre did not have US jurisdiction. The judge rejected that claim.
Judge Lewis A Kaplan, in a written order, told the prince’s lawyers they must turn over documents on the schedule that has been set in the lawsuit brought by Guiffre who claims she was abused – aged 17 – by the prince on multiple occasions in 2001 while she was being sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Kaplan also rejected arguments by the prince’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, on jurisdiction grounds after they argued last week that the lawsuit should be dismissed because Giuffre, a US citizen, no longer lives in the US. Brettler has called the lawsuit “baseless”.
The prince’s lawyers claimed evidence was so strong that Giuffre does not reside in the US that it was pointless to exchange evidence until that question is resolved because it could result in the lawsuit’s dismissal.
They argued that Giuffre has lived in Australia for all but two of the past 19 years, has an Australian driver’s licence and lives in a $1.9m (£1.4m) home in Perth, Western Australia, where she and her husband, an Australian national, live with their three children.
Judge Kaplan, in a written order on Friday, noted the prince’s lawyers have requested that “extensive” materials be turned over by Giuffre by 14 January, including documents related to where she has lived.
The rulings come before an important case hearing in New York on Tuesday, one day after the scheduled public release on Monday of a 2009 settlement agreement between Epstein and Giuffre that lawyers for Andrew had hoped would protect him from Guiffre’s claims.
The developments follow revelations that Giuffre’s lawyers are reportedly claiming they have up to six witnesses linking the duke to his accuser on the eve of the hearing into a civil lawsuit filed by the 38-year-old, in which she accuses Prince Andrew of sexual assault.
In a separate development, Andrew’s lawyers are also reported to have not provided documentary evidence that he has the “inability to sweat”, despite the claim supporting his denial against allegations he had sex with Giuffre.
The duke is also said not to have so far named any witnesses to support his alibi that he was in Pizza Express in Woking on the night in 2001 he was accused of having sex with Giuffre.
The sweating issue is one of the truly bizarre developments in this case. It arose after Giuffre, in recalling her encounters with him, expressed disgust at his ‘profuse sweating’ all over her. In a BBC interview widely described as a car crash, Andrew sought to discredit her by making a startling claim of his own.
When quizzed about her allegations by BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, Andrew, 61, said her claims were impossible.
He said he had a condition that was brought on by an intensely traumatic event he experienced during the 1982 Falklands War, in which he served as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot.
The Prince told Maitlis: “There’s a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time.
But now Giuffre has challenged him to prove his claims asking for proof.
Her lawyers requested “all documents concerning your alleged medical condition of anhidrosis, hypohidrosis, or your inability to sweat”.
The Duke’s US attorney Andrew Brettler responded, writing: “The Defendant objects to this request on the grounds that it is harassing and seeks confidential and private information and documents that are irrelevant, immaterial and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”
He added “no such documents exist in his possession, custody or control” and that a “diligent search and a reasonable inquiry have been made in an effort to comply with this demand”.
In the absence of documents, I am not sure how the merits of this particular issue can be adjudicated. Can he be ordered to undergo some kind of exercise regimen in the presence of a court-ordered doctor to see if he sweats or not?
Post Script: I have been wondering why Andrew felt it necessary to make this claim that he could not sweat. After all, nothing really hinged on it. It may be because for his family, dignity is everything and that he could not let pass the idea that he could sweat profusely like some common person. Now he has made it a test of his and her credibility.