Prince Andrew’s lawyer has called for the US civil case against the royal over alleged sexual assault to be stopped because his accuser is “actually domiciled in Australia”.
Virginia Giuffre is suing the Queen’s son for allegedly assaulting her when she was a teenager. Andrew strongly denies the allegation.
His lawyer, Andrew B Brettler, said in documents filed in the southern district court of New York on Tuesday that the case should be halted until the “issue of subject matter jurisdiction is adjudicated”.
He wrote: “Recently discovered evidence suggests that the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over this action because plaintiff Virginia L Giuffre cannot satisfy the elements of diversity jurisdiction.
“Notwithstanding that, in her complaint Ms Giuffre alleges she is a citizen of the state of Colorado; the evidence demonstrates that she is actually domiciled in Australia, where she has lived for all but two of the past 19 years.”
He went on: “It is undisputed that at the time she filed this action Ms Giuffre had an Australian driver’s licence and was living in a $A1.9m (US$1m) home in Perth, Western Australia, where she and her husband have been raising their three children.
“In reality, Ms Giuffre’s ties to Colorado are very limited. She has not lived there since at least 2019 – approximately two years before she filed this lawsuit against Prince Andrew – and potentially, according to her own deposition testimony, not since October 2015.”
Brettler said Giuffre only recently registered to vote in Colorado using her mother and stepfather’s mailing address there.
“In light of the apparent lack of diversity jurisdiction, Prince Andrew respectfully requests that the court order Ms Giuffre to respond to targeted written discovery requests pertaining to her domicile and submit to a two-hour remote deposition limited to the issue of her domicile,” he wrote.
Earlier this month, Brettler argued that the case should be thrown out because Giuffre had a “tortured interpretation” of the law she was relying on. He said some of the alleged offences were said to have happened outside New York state and beyond the jurisdiction of the New York Child Victims Act (CVA) that she is using.
The CVA created a 12-month window for individuals to file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for alleged sexual abuse when they were children. The deadline was later extended by one year because of the pandemic.
Giuffre is seeking unspecified damages. She claims she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law. Andrew has denied all the allegations.
Epstein was found dead in his cell at a New York federal jail in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial. His death was ruled a suicide.