Judge requests testimonies from four people including the duke’s former aide and Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s husband
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A New York judge has asked law enforcement in the UK and Australia to help collect testimonies from Prince Andrew’s former aide and three other potential witnesses for the sex assault civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
The Duke of York has denied all of the allegations against him, including being a co-conspirator of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. But New York Judge Lewis Kaplan last month denied “in all respects” a plea by Andrew’s lawyers to dismiss the civil damages claim and ruled that the case could continue.
Newly released court documents show that Kaplan has filed letters to the UK High Court, the senior master of the Queen’s Bench Division and the Australian attorney-general “to ask for their help in gathering evidence” from a total of four witnesses by the end of April, The Times reported.
Here is the witness list so far for the civil case, which is pencilled in to take place between September and December.
Ex-aide Onley is to be questioned about Andrew’s communications with Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Giuffre, “along with his travel to Epstein’s homes”, according to The Times.
Former Army Air Corps officer Olney, now head of safety and business delivery at the Civil Aviation Authority, was listed in “Epstein’s infamous ‘little black book’ of contacts”, said the Daily Mail’s Richard Kay. Olney also “accompanied Andrew on several high-profile trips around the globe”.
“All the same, the request to interview him as a witness has surprised Andrew’s team,” added Kay, who noted that Olney was appointed as equerry to the royal in September 2002 – more than a year after a then teenage Giuffre was allegedly forced to have sex with Andrew.
Judge Kaplan has also requested evidence from Walker – a woman who may have seen Prince Andrew with Giuffre at a London nightclub two decades ago.
According to Giuffre’s lawyers, Walker said she saw the royal “with a young girl around the time that the plaintiff contends Prince Andrew abused her in London after visiting Tramp nightclub”.
Walker’s lawyer Lisa Bloom – who has represented women against both Bill Cosby and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly – told The Guardian last month that her client would be “willing to do the deposition Virginia Giuffre’s team is seeking”.
Giuffre’s lawyers have said that Walker’s testimony is “highly relevant” because Andrew has “denied ever meeting plaintiff or being at Tramp nightclub during the relevant time period”.
Kaplan has written to the Australian Attorney General requesting assistance in getting testimony from Giuffre’s husband, Robert, on behalf of Andrew’s attorneys.
The couple moved to Australia after meeting 20 years ago in Thailand, where she was studying massage techniques and he was a martial arts tutor. They wed “in a Buddhist temple within ten days of meeting” and now have three children,The Telegraph reported.
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According to The Independent, the judge has asked for his testimony to include how he met his wife, “his discussions with her about Andrew, her alleged childhood trauma and abuse, and her relationship with Epstein and Maxwell”. The testimony is also requested to cover “all claims Ms Giuffre has made against the duke, her alleged emotional and psychological harm and damages, her role in trafficking and recruiting young girls for Epstein, and the Giuffre household’s finances”, the newspaper said.
Andrew’s lawyers also asked for help in obtaining testimony from Giuffre’s psychologist, Dr Lightfoot.
Judge Kaplan has said that Lightfoot’s evidence should include “Ms Giuffre’s medical treatment, her diagnosis of Ms Giuffre, matters discussed during their sessions and claims made about Andrew”, the London Evening Standard reported.
Lightfoot will also reportedly be questioned about theories put forward by Andrew’s legal team that Giuffre “may suffer from false memories”.
Whether Dr Lightfoot “will be allowed to refuse access” to such personal information “due to patient/doctor confidentiality” remains to be seen, the paper added.