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UK court 'may FORCE Andrew to give evidence in US lawsuit'

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Prince Andrew could be forced by a UK court to present evidence in Virginia Giuffre's bombshell sex assault US lawsuit if he continues to 'dodge and duck' the case, according to a lawyer who has represented victims of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. 

Lisa Bloom told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that a British judge might be required to enforce a cooperation deal between London and Washington DC that could compel the Duke of York to present evidence to be used in a US lawsuit under oath.

She also insisted that Ms Guiffre's sex assault case is likely to proceed despite lawyers for Andrew trying to convince Judge Lewis Kaplan the papers had not been served and that the lawsuit should be thrown out, adding: 'No one is above the law.'

'We have a legal cooperation agreement between the US and the UK and everybody who is sued says its unfair and unjust and they didn't do it, but that's not good enough,' Ms Bloom told the Today programme.

'We have system and a process and especially when it comes to sexual assault cases (Ms Guiffre's) entitled to her day in court, he's entitled to present all his defences. There are many ordinary cases everyday where citizens of the UK are required to answer questions under oath and depositions in US cases and vice versa because we have a friendly agreement between the two countries.' 

Lawyers who spoke to MailOnline have confirmed that it is a 'well-trodden path' for US litigants to make applications to obtain evidence or documents from an individual in England and Wales for the purposes of US civil proceedings in the US.   

In England and Wales, the Evidence Act 1975, the Civil Procedure Rules and the Hague Convention authorise the High Court to make an order on behalf of a US court for an uncooperative individual in England and Wales to produce evidence. 

Thomas Garner, extradition partner at Fladgate, told MailOnline: 'There is a well trodden path for a US litigant to obtain evidence in the UK. This route is open to them in this case. 

'Prince Andrew would be entitled to invoke privileges against self-incrimination, but given what he has said previously about cooperating any refusal to do so is only going to aggravate an already hugely embarrassing situation for him and the Royal Family.'

Ms Guiffre, an alleged victim of convicted pedophile Epstein, filed a lawsuit against the Queen's son in federal court in Manhattan on August 9. She claims she was forced to have sex with the royal three times when she was 17 - under the age of consent in the US.

The lawsuit claimed that Andrew was one of the 'powerful men' who Epstein loaned Ms Guiffre, then Ms Roberts, out to for sex and accused the duke of 'publicly feigning ignorance about the scope of Epstein's sex-trafficking operation and sympathy for Epstein's victims'. 

Ms Guiffre alleges the first time with the royal was at the London townhouse of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's alleged madam. The second time, in 2001, was at Epstein's New York mansion, and the third time was on Epstein's private island in the Caribbean. The formal allegations against the duke are battery and infliction of emotional distress.

Andrew has long denied the allegations and has not been charged with any crime. In a car-crash 2019 interview with the BBC, he claimed he had no memory of ever meeting Ms Roberts, now a 38-year-old mother-of-three who lives in Australia and goes by her married name.

A now-infamous photo, taken inside the London townhouse of Maxwell shows Andrew smiling for the camera with his arm around Ms Roberts' waist while Maxwell stands in the background.  

Prince Andrew could be forced by a UK court to present evidence in Virginia Giuffre's bombshell sexual assault US lawsuit if he continues to 'dodge and duck' the case, according to Lisa Bloom, who has represented victims of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Andrew, Virginia Roberts, aged 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell at Maxwell's townhouse in London

According to a document filed on Friday (above), an affidavit of service was served at the Duke of York's home in Windsor, England on August 27

Timeline of another dramatic month in the Prince Andrew case 

Asked who would be required to force the duke to sit in a US court, Ms Bloom said: 'It would be a UK court that would be enforcing the cooperation agreement between the US and the UK, just as in my country if a witness is needed for a case in England they are required to cooperate. 

'You have to jump through some hoops, you have to submit some paperwork and affidavits and so forth, but eventually witnesses and people who are sued need to comply.' 

Ms Bloom went on: 'I think that Prince Andrew is trying to dodge and hide and duck service which is not a good look for him. Eventually the judge is going to say that he's been served, either in this occasion or in the future because wealthy people typically have guard gates and walls and they can get on their plane and go away and they can try to evade service and they often do, but it doesn't work forever. 

'I sue people like this all the time, high-profile people in sexual abuse cases, and eventually judges grow tired of it and they find an alternate way of service so the case can get going. 

'If the decision is that service was proper then the case goes forward, and if I were representing Virginia... we would immediately embark on a very aggressive course of discovery, subpoenaing calendars and journals and logbooks and any kind of records of where he was on the dates that she says he sexually assaulted her in New York about 20 years ago. I would take depositions, which are witness statements under oath that people are required to do, including Prince Andrew's. 

'Everybody dodges and ducks and runs and hides and says the case is invalid and it's unfair and they're innocent, and that's not enough. We have a court system, and no one is above the law.' 

It comes as the judge in Andrew's sex assault trial told the Duke to 'cut the technicalities' as he gave his rivals an extra week to serve him with legal papers.

In a fractious opening hearing in the case, Andrew's legal team tried to convince Judge Lewis Kaplan papers had not been served and the case should be thrown out.

They argued the UK's High Court should step in and make a ruling, and tried to invoke 'the Hague convention'. But no-nonsense New York Judge Kaplan gave the pleas short shrift.

He told Andrew's attorney Andrew Brettler that there was 'a lot to be said' for Roberts' team's point of view that 'you have a pretty high degree of certainty that he (Andrew) can be served sooner than later'.

Judge Kaplan said: 'Let's cut out all the technicalities and get to the substance.'

The telephone conference marked the opening salvos in what could become a bombshell sex assault trial - unless Andrew's team are successful in derailing it before it gets underway.

The Duke of York's attorney Mr Brettler told the federal court in New York that the lawsuit filed last month was a 'non-viable and potentially unlawful' case. 

In court documents filed last Friday, Roberts's lawyers claimed that the prince had been served on August 27, when the paperwork was handed to a policeman at the gate of Royal Lodge in Windsor who said he would pass them on. 

Prince Andrew's (pictured right last January) attorney told the federal court in New York on Monday that the sexual assault lawsuit filed against him by Virginia Roberts (left) last month was a 'non-viable and potentially unlawful' case

It was not clear if the royal was listening in, but a man and woman speaking in English accents were heard speaking ahead of the court hearing.  

'We do contest the validity of service to date, The Duke has not been properly served under either UK law or pursuant to the Hague convention,' Brettler told the court Monday.

'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.

'We believe this is a baseless non-viable and potentially unlawful lawsuit that the plaintiff has filed.

Court documents show Prince Andrew hired Hollywood attorney Andrew Brettler to represent him in the sexual assault case brought against him by his accuser and Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre

'There has been a settlement agreement the plaintiff entered into in a prior action that releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability.'

The case was delayed for about a week for Roberts's attorney David Boies to make any requests to the court for help with service.

But Judge Lewis Kaplan had a warning for all parties, including the prince. 

'There is a very swift way of getting to the substance promptly, but you two (lawyers) need to talk about that because I can see a lot of legal fees being spent and time being expended and delay which ultimately may not be terribly productive for anyone,' the judge said. 

During the 30-minute hearing, Roberts's lawyer David Boies said that in his view Andrew had been served under Article 10 of the Hague Convention.

Boies said that 'it's clear Prince Andrew has actual notice of this complaint and proceeding.' 

Brettler tried to argue that the Senior Master of the High Court in Britain needed to weigh in as the next step in the case under the terms of the Hague convention.

Judge Kaplan had little time for this and said that Brettler was 'making this a lot more complicated than it really is.'

Brettler responded that 'the rules under Hague convention should be followed…to protect a foreign national.'

But Judge Kaplan said that 'I'm sure you know that the Hague Convention is optional', adding that service could be effected upon a foreign national under a US Federal Rule known as 4(f)(3) without involving their government.

That rule offers wide scope for serving a foreign person 'by other means not prohibited by international agreement, as the court orders'.

Judge Kaplan said that he would likely grant that order and was 'unlikely to change my mind unless I hear something new.'

Prince Andrew with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson leaving Windsor to drive to the Queen's Balmoral estate in Scotland last week

Prince Andrew (left) arrives at Balmoral with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in the back of a Range Rover

Before the hearing ended Brettler tried to broach the issue of the settlement agreement.

It was signed by Roberts in a 2009 settlement with Jeffrey Epstein and was used by US lawyer Alan Dershowitz to have a battery allegation she filed in a civil case against him dismissed.

Brettler called it a 'secret settlement agreement' that could 'release the Duke of any liability as we suspect it does'.

Boies said that making such a request to see the document now was 'a bit premature' and said that he 'disagrees with the characterization' made by Brettler about what the document contains.

Judge Kaplan declined to order Boies to hand it over as another judge in a separate case was making that decision.

The case was delayed for around a week for Boies to make any requests to the court for help with service, including potentially having the judge asking British officials to assist.

Judge Kaplan set gave Brettler two weeks from the date Boies files his request, if it comes, to make any motions in response.

Both sides were given dates to file additional motions to the court before an in-person hearing which was scheduled for October 13.

Brettler, of powerhouse Los Angeles law firm Lavely & Singer, has defended multiple celebrities accused of sexual assault in the past. He is pictured left with the firm's founder Marty Singer in 2019

Prince Andrew's legal team run the risk of incurring the wrath of respected judge Lewis A Kaplan (left). His attorney Andrew Brettler will also be taking on fellow legal heavy hitter, David Boies, who is representing Roberts 

Earlier on Monday - just four hours before the hearing was set to take place - Brettler filed a notice saying he would be representing the British royal.

Brettler stated that he was appearing 'for the purpose of contesting purported service of process and challenging jurisdiction.' 

It comes after the high-powered attorney was hired to defend actor Armie Hammer, 35, earlier this year against allegations that the actor has cannibalistic fetishisms and sexually and physically abused a woman during their four-year relationship. 

His other clients include director Bryan Singer who has been accused of sexually assaulting minors. 

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter in May, Brettler spoke out against the MeToo movement and said there was an 'assumption of wrong-doing just based on an accusation, even an anonymous one.'

But in another interview he said that sometimes the best response 'may be to lie low.' 

'Sometimes the best defense is to not do anything, is to accept the punishment or whatever decision it is that the company made and stay quiet and better yourself as a person. Make whatever apologies need to be made, privately,' he said. 

Hiring Brettler brings the formidable resources of Lavely & Singer - founded by powerhouse celebrity attorney Marty Singer - onto Prince Andrew's legal team. 

Singer has been dubbed the 'Hollywood lawyer who can make any problem go away.'

Among those who have turned to Singer during times of crisis have been Charlie Sheen and Bill Cosby.

In a car-crash 2019 interview with the BBC (above), Andrew claimed he had no memory of ever meeting Roberts

Prince Andrew walking with Jeffrey Epstein in Central Park, New York City in 2011 after the friends left Epstein's home in Manhattan

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2000. Epstein was found hanging in his cell in Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York in August 2019 while awaiting trial

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