Prince Andrew's lawyer fights to have Virginia Roberts rape case thrown out of court claiming papers 'not served'

Prince Andrew's lawyer fights to have Virginia Roberts rape case thrown out of court claiming papers 'not served'

PRINCE Andrew has been given a stay of execution as a US judge has allowed lawyers more time to serve a bombshell sexual abuse lawsuit.

The Duke of York's Hollywood lawyer argued the case should be dismissed and branded it "baseless" during a 30 minute telephone pre-trial hearing.

Hotshot Hollywood attorney Andrew Brettler told the federal court in New York that it was a "non-viable and potentially unlawful" case.

The US legal eagle said Andrew's team are speaking with the High Court in the UK to determine if the papers have been served.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered a week-long delay on proceedings. It will allow accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre's lawyers to make any requests to the court for help serving the lawsuit.

Just hours after it was reported that US lawyers for Andrew would stonewall tonight's hearing altogether, Mr Brettler was appointed to the duke's team in a "very last-minute and 11th-hour" U-turn.

He argued tonight that Andrew was not properly served with the lawsuit – rendering it null and void.

Ms Robert's lawyers insist the royal has been served court papers in accordance with English and international law.

They say a copy of the summons was left with police at the gate of Windsor Royal Lodge on August 27.

However, Andrew's team say correct procedure wasn't followed – as the papers should be served through a British court official.

Manhattan federal court judge Lewis Kaplan tonight gave Ms Robert’s legal team another week to serve the prince, 61, with the papers.

And he appeared largely unimpressed with the argument made by Andrew's team – telling them: “You have a pretty high degree of certainty that he can be served sooner than later.

"Let’s cut out all the technicalities and get to the substance.”

At the hearing, David Boies, for Ms Roberts, told the court the team served papers "in several ways", including delivering it directly to Andrew's last-known address.

He added: "We would ask the court to grant an alternative means of service in the interests of moving the lawsuit along."

Let's cut out all the technicalities and get to substance

Mr Brettler replied: "We do contest the validity of service."

He added: "We have significant concerns about the propriety of this lawsuit that’s been filed.

"We’ve been in correspondence with the High Court in the UK and the High Court in the UK is going to have to determine whether service to date has been affected properly on the Duke."

And he blasted the claim against Andrew as "baseless, non-viable and potentially unlawful".

The judge warned Mr Brettler that the case against the royal "will be litigated" in the US – regardless of a High Court intervention.

It was not clear if Andrew was listening in – but before the hearing began, a man and a woman’s voice speaking in an English accent could be heard speaking.

ROYAL HIRES STAR LAWYER

In a notice submitted to the court today by the royal's legal team, it was revealed that Andrew had hired Mr Brettler to argue his case.

The lawyer attended the pre-trial hearing, which began at 9pm UK time, "for the purpose for contesting purported service of process and challenging jurisdiction."

Mr Brettler also represents actor Armie Hammer, who has been accused of rape.

In addition, he took on a number of cases after the #MeToo movement, and has represented Danny Masterson of That 70s Show, singer Ryan Adams and performer Chris Brown.

He is based in LA, with an office an hour-and-a-half from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Montecito home.

Ms Roberts claims she was trafficked by Andrew's former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the prince.

At the time of the allegation, she says she was 17 – a minor under US law.

DUKE AT BALMORAL

Prince Andrew vehemently denies the allegation.

American prosecutors have alleged the prince has been unhelpful in their investigation into the Epstein case.

The district’s former US Attorney Geoffrey Berman had declared in a statement that the royal provided “zero cooperation”.

Andrew took part in a shooting party yesterday – and remains cloistered at the Queen’s private 550-acre Balmoral estate tonight.

Those invited to the ­Scottish retreat are thought to have included the Crown Prince of Bahrain, 51, who is linked to human rights abuses in his home country.

The Prince stated in a disastrous Newsnight interview in 2019 that he had “no recollection” of meeting Ms Roberts.

He told Emily Maitlis: "I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened."

Royal aides are said to be furious he fled his Windsor home last week and arrived at his mum’s summer home.

They fear it makes it look to Brits as if the monarch is harbouring him.

A spokesperson for Andrew has refused to comment.




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