The Duke of York is being urged to fight back with “every ounce of energy” against allegations made in US court documents by a woman who claimed she was forced to have sex with him while she was still a minor.
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz – also named in the court papers – said the claims against him were part of a pattern of “made-up stories” by the woman and her lawyers against prominent people.
He said yesterday he would not rest until he had shown the claims regarding his conduct were false and he advised the duke to do everything in his power to clear his name.
“My only feeling is, if she’s lied about me, which I know to an absolute certainty she has, she should not be believed about anyone else,” he said.
“We know she’s lied about other public figures including a former prime minister and others who she claims to have participated in sexual activities with, so I think it must be presumed all her allegations against Prince Andrew were false as well. You cannot allow these allegations to hang above you. The first question you have to ask yourself when you are charged with a crime like this is ‘is there any conceivable possibility you did it?’ and if the answer to that is ‘no’, you have to fight back with every resource and ounce of energy available to you.”
Buckingham Palace has taken the unusual step of releasing a strongly worded statement categorically denying any impropriety by the duke with underage minors.
The woman’s claim is part of a lawsuit in connection with US billionaire and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein – a former friend of the duke.
She claims between 1999 and 2002 she “was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor” in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein.
The accusation is reportedly contained in a motion filed in Florida which is part of a lawsuit over how federal prosecutors handled the case of Ep- stein, who was sentenced to 18 months in jail in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution.
Dershowitz, who represented Epstein in the 2008 case, accused the woman’s lawyers of conniving with her to make up the allegations against him.
“The story is totally made up. I don’t know this woman. It is part of a pattern of made-up stories against prominent people and world leaders,” he said.
“I will prove beyond any doubt not only that the story is totally false but it was knowingly false, that the lawyers and the client conspired together to create a false story.”
In a statement released through her lawyers to a UK newspaper, the woman hit back, saying: “These types of aggressive attacks on me are exactly the reason why sexual abuse victims typically remain silent and the reason why I did for a long time. That trend should change. I’m not going to be bullied back into silence.”
Dershowitz acknowledged he had met the duke, but said they had never been alone together and that he was not a witness to any impropriety.
“I have never been alone with Prince Andrew, I have never been at a party with any women with Prince Andrew and I am certainly not a witness or participant in any sexual activities whatsoever,” he said.
Epstein is accused in the court papers of repeatedly abusing the woman – now said to be in her 30s – on his private jet and luxury homes.
The court document alleges: “Epstein also sexually trafficked the then-minor Jane Doe [a name used in US legal proceedings for people with anonymity], making her available for sex to politically-connected and financially- powerful people.
“Epstein’s purposes in ‘lending’ Jane Doe … to such powerful people were to ingratiate himself with them for business, personal, political, and financial gain, as well as to obtain potential blackmail information.”