Judge rejects request by Prince Andrew to dismiss accuser's lawsuit

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a request from Prince Andrew to throw out a lawsuit that accuses him of having sex with an underage girl. 

Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that it was an open question as to whether the prince, the son of Queen Elizabeth II, should be released from liability over the abuse alleged by Virginia Giuffre, according to CNBC.

Giuffre, who says that she was sexually exploited by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, alleged in a lawsuit that she had sex with Andrew under the direction of Ghislaine Maxwell, a former partner and close associate of Epstein's.

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Maxwell was convicted in December of crimes related to grooming and trafficking underaged girls for Epstein. 

Andrew has denied Giuffre's claims and argued that the case should be dismissed over a 2009 civil settlement that Giuffre signed with Epstein for $500,000. He has claimed that the settlement should bar him from being sued for sexual abuse, according to CNBC. 

The outlet noted that the settlement does not mention Andrew by name. 

“The 2009 Agreement is far from a model of clear and precise language,” the judge wrote in his decision on Wednesday, according to CNBC. “Both sides agree that Epstein and Ms. Giuffre agreed to its language. It must have meant something to them. But Ms. Giuffre and the defendant in this case disagree emphatically as to what it meant with respect to both issues.”

Kaplan added in his Monday ruling that his refusal to dismiss Giuffre’s case was not a result of finding her claims to be true, which is a matter that still will be determined by a jury, CNBC reported.

Andrew and Epstein maintained a friendship for many years. In August of 2019, Epstein died by suicide in a Manhattan federal jail while he was awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.