NEW YORK: Britain’s Prince Andrew has accepted that he has been served legal papers in a sexual assault lawsuit brought against him in the United States, a court filing showed on Friday.

Attorneys for the Duke of York and his accuser Virginia Guiffre have agreed that the notification was effective from Sept 21, according to the filing with the Southern District of New York.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son has until October 29 to respond to the lawsuit, and a hearing earlier scheduled for October 13 has been canceled, the joint stipulation added.

Lawyers for the duke had previously argued that legal papers in the case, in which Giuffre is suing for damages, were not properly served.

Earlier this month, Giuffre successfully applied to the High Court of England and Wales for it to formally contact him about the case in New York.

The court later told lawyers for the 61-year-old duke that any challenge to their ruling must be made by Sept 24.

Giuffre says the royal sexually assaulted her more than 20 years ago when she was 17 and a minor under US state law.

Andrew has not been criminally charged and has repeatedly and strenuously denied the allegations.

Giuffre, 38, sued Andrew last month, alleging he sexually abused her at London home of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

She also said he assaulted her at the New York home of disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein, as well as at Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.

Guiffre alleges Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges in 2019, lent her out for sex with his wealthy and powerful associates.

Andrew has rarely been seen in public since he was forced to quit the royal frontline in 2019 for failing to distance himself from Epstein.

Maxwell is due to go on trial in New York on November 29 on charges that she recruited underage girls for Epstein to abuse. She has pleaded not guilty.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2021

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