SEX abuse claims by two women against the Duke of York will not be heard in a civil court case after a judge ruled against their inclusion in official papers.
Andrew was named in a lawsuit against the wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who still faces claims by two other women - named as Jane Doe No 1 and Jane Doe No 2.
At this juncture in the proceedings, these lurid details are unnecessaryJudge Marra
However, yesterday’s developments in Miami have put an end to allegations against Andrew made by Virginia Roberts (Jane Doe 3) and another woman, Jane Doe 4.
They said they were among dozens of women sexually abused by Epstein as teenagers at locations ranging from a Palm Beach mansion to a private Caribbean island to a sprawling New Mexico ranch.
But Judge Kenneth Marra said the “lurid” claims were “unnecessary” to decide the civil case.
Federal prosecutors in the US opposed allowing the pair to join the lawsuit, which was filed in 2008, and Judge Marra agreed.
“Justice does not require amendment in this instance,” the judge wrote.
“At this juncture in the proceedings, these lurid details are unnecessary,” Judge Marra added in his order, issued at the US district court in southern Florida yesterday morning. “These unnecessary details shall be stricken.”
Judge Marra made no ruling or statement about the veracity of Ms Roberts’s allegations. He said the “factual details regarding with whom and where” she had sex were “immaterial and impertinent” to her argument that she should be allowed to join the lawsuit.
However, he noted Ms Roberts may yet appear as a witness when the case finally goes to trial. Her attorneys, who were unavailable for comment following the court order, have previously said she was prepared to testify.
Palace aides were yesterday assessing the latest legal development but declined to comment on the developments.
Five court filings in the Florida case, including a document filed on December 30 last year in which Andrew was first accused, were immediately sealed from the public. The filing at that time placed Andrew under intense pressure, forcing him to return to his home at Windsor from Switzerland where he was on a skiing holiday with a party including his daughter Princess Beatrice.
The 54-year-old duke only resumed public engagements at the World Economic Forum in Davos in late January where he was pursued by reporters and used a short speech “to reiterate and to reaffirm” the existing Buckingham Palace denials of what courtiers described as “lurid and deeply personal” claims.
Buckingham Palace broke with convention to directly address the sex claims, and Andrew approved a statement which vehemently denied “any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts”. It continued: “The allegations made are false and without any foundation.”
Ms Roberts claimed she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 by Epstein, a convicted sex offender who has served a 13-month jail sentence.
But Judge Marra said: “The factual details regarding with whom and where the Jane Does engaged in sexual activities are immaterial and impertinent to this central claim. These unnecessary details shall be stricken.”
He noted in his order US law empowers judges to “strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.”
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