The prince’s legal team has argued that British courts cannot serve the summons.
A British court has ruled on Wednesday that it intends to formally notify Prince Andrew of a sexual assault trial against him in New York, according to a court statement and documents obtained by ABC News.
“The legal process has not yet been served, but the High Court will now take steps to serve under [Hague] Convention, “a court spokesman told Reuters in a statement.
The court’s ruling came over the objections of the prince’s legal team, who have argued that lawyers for the prince’s prosecutor, Virginia Giuffre, are not authorized to receive assistance from the British courts to serve the summons for the prince.
Giuffre, 38, sued the prince in a U.S. federal court last month, accusing the prince of sexually assaulting her in 2001 in Manhattan on convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and elsewhere. The prince has denied his allegations.
In an email sent and obtained Wednesday by ABC News, Gary Bloxsome – the prince’s lawyer – insisted that the request for service from Giuffre’s lawyers was “in breach” of British law. Bloxsome claimed that complying with the request constituted “a violation of Britain’s sovereignty”, according to the email Bloxsome sent to the Special Master Barbara Fontaine, a British court official.
In response, Fontaine told Bloxsome that if the prince’s team wanted to challenge her determination, they should do so by requesting a formal hearing.
“I do not think it is appropriate for me to resolve this controversial issue via email,” Fontaine wrote in an email to Bloxsome.
The British court ruling comes just two days after a lawyer for Prince Andrew appeared in a New York court to argue that the 61-year-old son of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II had not been legally served with a warning about Giuffres lawsuit. The lawyer, Andrew Brettler, attacked the case as “unfounded, unsustainable and potentially illegal.”
Brettler has not responded to an email request for comment from ABC News.
A lawyer for Giuffre said on Wednesday that he views the countless objections from Prince Andrew’s legal team as an attempt to delay or prevent the prince from seeing the charges in court.
“I think their continued irreconcilability here is something that ultimately goes to their credibility; I think ultimately makes it clear that they do not trust their defense because of merit,” David Boies said. chairman of the New York-based law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, which represents Giuffre.
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is overseeing Giuffre’s case against the prince, has set up a hearing next month to determine whether the prince has been lawfully and lawfully served with notice of the trial.