NEW YORK (AP) – A 2008 settlement deal that a lawyer for Prince Andrew said he would protect an American from sexually abusing a 17-year-old could remain secret, a New York judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled in a brief order issued a day after asking Andrew’s lawyer that the document would remain sealed when he submitted his argument as to why he felt the judge should dismiss the case. Attorney Andrew Bretler said he wanted to include a copy of the agreement with the arguments.
In the August lawsuit, Virginia Gioffrey claims that in 2001 the prince abused her more than once. Andrew says he never had sex with her.
Bretler, who called the case “baseless,” said neither Prince nor Giffre claimed the release agreement must be sealed, but requested that it be kept secret because it was subject to a protective order from another judge presiding over federal civil action. New York.
The settlement agreement was reached between Geoffrey and Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his cell at the age of 66 in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial in a New York federal prison. His death has been called suicide.
In his Wednesday order, Kaplan noted that even Jeffrey Epstein’s estate does not object that the settlement agreement must remain sealed.
Kaplan has asked the parties to ask the judge in another case – Loretta A. Presca – In order to agree that the document may be sealed, Presca “may well look at an application … agreement to allow public disclosure of the settlement.”
“But that’s for her to say,” he wrote, adding that the deal could be filed under the seal and would remain in place unless Presca and Kaplan decide otherwise.
In his Tuesday filing, Bretler said the agreement “relieves Prince Andrew and others of any liability arising from Miss Geoffrey’s claims against Prince Andrew.”
Prince Andrew’s case is set to be heard next week.
The Associated Press does not usually identify people who say they have been sexually harassed, unless they prefer to come forward in public, as Geoffrey did.