Prince Andrew, Duke of York, has been served with a sexual assault lawsuit brought against him by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, according to New York federal court records.
Andrew is being sued in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York by Virginia Giuffre, 38, who alleges the Duke repeatedly sexually assaulted her in New York, London and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands between 2000 and 2002 when she was under 18.
The Duke has repeatedly denied having sex with Giuffre, including in a catastrophic BBC interview from November 2019 in which he tried to defend himself, saying he had never met her. Shortly after the interview aired, Andrew announcement that he was “stepping back” from royal public duties.
The affidavit of service filed on Friday says a member of Andrew’s security team formally received notice of prosecution against him at his home, Royal Lodge on the grounds of Windsor Castle, on August 27.
In the affidavit, Cesar Augusto Sepulveda said it took him two days to hand over the documents because on his first attempt on August 26, Andrew’s security team told him they had received for instruction not to accept service of legal process or “permit anyone to attend for the purpose of serving legal process on the property’s grounds.”
When he returned the next day, Sepulveda met Andrew’s head of security, who told him he could leave the documents with one of the Royal Lodge guards and they would be passed on to the legal team. of the duke. The head of security refused to allow Sepulveda to serve Andrew in person.
The documents list London-based criminal defense barrister Gary Bloxsome as the Duke’s lawyer. BuzzFeed News has reached out to Bloxsome to comment on the affidavit of service and the document’s claim that its security team was instructed not to receive court documents. He did not answer.
However, according to ABC News, Bloxsome reportedly questioned the legality of the service and called the actions of Giuffre’s legal team “regrettable” in a letter obtained by the network. In the document, which ABC News said was sent by Bloxsome to Britain’s senior master of the judiciary Barbara Fontaine on September 6, the lawyer claimed the manner in which the lawsuit was served renders the service invalid under the UK law.
“If he is not satisfied with a very good reason to do so, it is very unlikely that our client will be prepared to accept any form of alternative service as long as the approach to service of this procedure remains irregular and that the viability of the claim remains questionable,” Bloxsome reportedly wrote.
The first pre-trial conference will be held virtually by telephone on Monday. It is unclear whether attorneys representing Andrew will participate, as no documents have been filed in federal court in his defense.