Monday, January 24, 2022

Judge to insist Prince Andrew appears in court to answer sexual assault claims, lawyer says

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The sex abuse attorney with 30 years of trial experience says he’s never seen a defendant get permission to appear over video

A leading US attorney who has represented many victims of sex abuse has said it is “very likely” that the judge in Virginia Giuffre’s civil case against Prince Andrew will force the duke to appear in person if the trial takes place this fall.

The Queen’s third child will also likely be ordered to appear in person for testimony from Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies, according to Tom Simeone, managing partner of law firm Simeone & Miller.

Mr Simeone said future Covid travel restrictions were the Duke’s sole reason for not being able to attend both the testimonies, which are part of the current pre-trial investigation, and the court proceedings in person.

“The plaintiff’s attorney in Prince Andrew’s case will definitely want to testify in New York. And that’s the general rule. It’s up to Prince Andrew and his lawyers to file something with the court or apply for some sort of permission to do it via video.

“That kind of reasoning would usually provoke or some kind of harshness. But there is obviously no financial distress. Prince Andrew travels quite a bit so can’t really say it’s normal for him. You could argue a joker and that is Covid.”

Any attempt by the Duke’s legal team to ask Prince Andrew to be interviewed via a video link or to submit written answers is likely to be challenged by Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies.

Mr Boies is expected to ask the judge that any questioning of Prince Andrew, which could last for days, take place at his Manhattan offices.

“The other things his lawyer might argue are the inconveniences. You know, ‘the press will besiege us everywhere. It would be a big circus, so he should do it on video.”

However, Mr Simeone said the testimonies would likely take place in New York, adding it was “almost certain” Judge Kaplan would insist that the Duke appear in person at any trial taking place in the autumn, should the case should not be settled court cases in the previous months.

Mr Simeone said: “For the trial itself, it’s much, much more likely that it will have to come to New York. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case and I’ve been doing trial work where the accused can appear via video for 30 years.

“The judge wants the parties to be present and they want the jury to hear the parties because the jury needs to understand and judge whether what you say is true or not. And it really helps that the witnesses are in the room so you can read their body language and whether they’re sweating, moving, or upset. A judge wants the jury to see it all in person.”

Prince Andrew categorically denies all of Ms Giuffre’s allegations.

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