NEW YORK (AP) — A 2008 settlement agreement that a lawyer for Prince Andrew says would protect him against claims that he sexually abused an American when she was 17 can remain secret, a New York judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan made the ruling in a brief order released a day after Andrew’s lawyer asked that the document remain sealed when he files arguments explaining why he thinks the judge should throw out the lawsuit. Andrew Brettler stated that he was interested in including a copy with the arguments.
Virginia Giuffre alleges that Prince Andrew abused her multiple times in 2001. Andrew claims he has never had sex in public with Virginia Giuffre.
Brettler, who has called the lawsuit “baseless,” said neither the prince nor Giuffre contend that the release agreement must remain sealed, but they requested that it stay secret because it is subject to a protective order from another judge presiding over a federal civil action in New York.
Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein reached a settlement. Jeffrey Epstein was discovered dead in his cell at age 66 while in New York’s federal prison awaiting trial for sex traficking. He was declared dead as a result of suicide.
Kaplan stated in his Wednesday Order that Jeffrey Epstein’s Estate does not believe that the settlement agreement should be sealed.
Kaplan seemed to urge the parties to ask the judge in the other case — Loretta A. Preska — to agree that the document can be unsealed, saying Preska “might well view with favor an application … to permit the public disclosure of the Settlement Agreement.”
“But that is for her to say,” he wrote, ruling that the agreement can be filed under seal and remain so unless Preska and Kaplan decide otherwise.
In his Tuesday filing, Brettler said the agreement “releases Prince Andrew and others from any purported liability arising from the claims Ms. Giuffre asserted against Prince Andrew here.”
The hearing on the Prince Andrew case is set for next week.
Unless someone is willing to speak out publicly about their sexual assault, The Associated Press will not usually name victims. Giuffre was one such example.