A US judge has agreed for Britain's Prince Andrew's lawyers to receive a copy of a 2009 settlement they believe will nullify the civil sexual assault case against the royal.
Andrew B Brettler, who represents the prince, had argued at a previous hearing Virginia Giuffre – who is suing him for alleged sexual assault – had entered into a “settlement agreement” that would end her current lawsuit.
Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies was granted permission by Judge Loretta Preska to supply Andrew’s legal team with the previously sealed document, but the attorney believes it is “irrelevant to the case against Prince Andrew”.
During the first pre-trial hearing of the case last month, Andrew’s lawyer said: “There has been a settlement agreement that the plaintiff has entered into in a prior action that releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability.”
Mr Brettler was referring to the 2009 settlement between Ms Giuffre and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein of a Florida state case to which the prince was not a party.
Ms Giuffre is suing Andrew for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.
She claims she was trafficked by Epstein, Andrew's former friend, to have sex with the prince when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
Andrew has denied all the allegations.
In a court document filed on Wednesday, Judge Preska agreed to the request from Mr Boies to provide Andrew’s legal team with the document.
In a previous court paper, Mr Boies said to Judge Preska about the document: “Although we believe that the release is irrelevant to the case against Prince Andrew, now that service has been accepted and the case is proceeding to a determination on the merits, we believe that counsel for Prince Andrew have a right to review the release and to make whatever arguments they believe appropriate based on it.”