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Prince Andrew hosts shooting party at Balmoral two days before first sexual assault hearing in US

Guests yesterday visited the Duke of York, 61, at Balmoral, the Queen’s 550-acre estate, despite tomorrow’s looming challenge from a New York court (pictured: Andrew in 2001)

Prince Andrew held a shooting party yesterday just two days before sexual claims against him were due to be heard in court, according to reports. 

Guests yesterday visited the Duke of York, 61, at Balmoral, the Queen‘s 550-acre estate, despite tomorrow’s looming challenge from a New York court, The Sun reports.

The former sex slave of Jeffrey Epstein, Virginia Guiffre, 38, accuses Andrew of abusing her three times when she was under 18. He denies any wrongdoing. 

A royal source said: ‘This is so brazen it is unbelievable. Prince Andrew is carrying on like nothing has happened and as if he hasn’t got a care in the world.

‘It has been bad enough that he appears to have been seeking refuge at Balmoral, where the Queen is trying to have quiet time after a tough year… and it is also tone deaf as if he does not care about what is going on with the legal case.’

Victims of Jeffrey Epstein have now voiced fears they would never see his former friend Andrew in court, despite the writ served to him for the civil case where he is accused of rape and sexual assault. 

Spencer Kuvin, a lawyer representing nine Epstein victims, said Andrew’s team will lodge a motion to dismiss proceedings within days under ‘numerous’ grounds, and Judge Lewis Kaplan might not accept the writ was properly served.

He told the Mirror: ‘The victims I represent don’t believe Andrew will ever be held accountable for his actions.

‘The justice system will never hold him accountable.

‘There is no chance of getting Andrew to court, but he absolutely should be tried in the court of public opinion and that’s what this process is doing very successfully.’

He added: ‘Andrew should step forward, be a man and answer to his accuser. He should present himself in court. But he’s clearly going to hide behind his lawyers.’ 

Guests yesterday visited the Duke of York, 61, at Balmoral, the Queen's 550-acre estate, despite tomorrow's looming challenge from a New York court (pictured: Andrew leaving Windsor to see head to Balmoral, September 7)

Guests yesterday visited the Duke of York, 61, at Balmoral, the Queen’s 550-acre estate, despite tomorrow’s looming challenge from a New York court (pictured: Andrew leaving Windsor to see head to Balmoral, September 7) 

A royal source said: 'It has been bad enough that he appears to have been seeking refuge at Balmoral, where the Queen is trying to have quiet time after a tough year... and it is also tone deaf as if he does not care about what is going on with the legal case'

A royal source said: ‘It has been bad enough that he appears to have been seeking refuge at Balmoral, where the Queen is trying to have quiet time after a tough year… and it is also tone deaf as if he does not care about what is going on with the legal case’

It comes following reports that Andrew has assembled a ‘dream team’ of high-powered American lawyers and feels ‘confident’ that the civil case against him for rape and sexual assault will be thrown out of court.

A source familiar with the legal team appointed by the Duke of York to fight a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by accuser Virginia Roberts – which has its first court hearing tomorrow – told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘The Prince’s UK team has slowly but surely been putting together a team of highly-skilled, big-name lawyers to fight on his behalf in the US.

The former sex slave of Jeffrey Epstein, Virginia Guiffre, 38, accuses Andrew of abusing her three times when she was under 18. He denies any wrongdoing

The former sex slave of Jeffrey Epstein, Virginia Guiffre, 38, accuses Andrew of abusing her three times when she was under 18. He denies any wrongdoing

‘People will be surprised by the names of those who will be defending him. It’s a dream team of some of the sharpest minds in the business. There is a great deal of confidence among everyone, Andrew included, that the civil suit will be thrown out before it ever comes to court.’

The MoS first revealed that Ms Roberts – now known as Virginia Giuffre – planned to sue the Duke in a New York court, claiming that she was forced to have sex with him three times when she was 17 and still a minor under New York law.

The lawsuit, filed last month, alleges the Prince ‘raped and committed sexual assault and battery’ on Ms Roberts, now 38.

She is seeking unspecified damages which could run into the millions of dollars. Prince Andrew has repeatedly and vehemently denied all claims against him and any wrongdoing.

The Duke’s legal team in the United States is believed to include Blair Berk, a high-powered, Los Angeles-based lawyer whose previous clients include Harvey Weinstein, Britney Spears, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mel Gibson.

A source familiar with the legal team appointed by the Duke of York to fight a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by accuser Virginia Roberts – which has its first court hearing tomorrow – told The Mail on Sunday last night: 'The Prince's UK team has slowly but surely been putting together a team of highly-skilled, big-name lawyers to fight on his behalf in the US'

A source familiar with the legal team appointed by the Duke of York to fight a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by accuser Virginia Roberts – which has its first court hearing tomorrow – told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘The Prince’s UK team has slowly but surely been putting together a team of highly-skilled, big-name lawyers to fight on his behalf in the US’

‘Blair is one of the best in the business. She’s nicknamed The Rottweiler,’ said a lawyer who has worked with her.

‘She takes no prisoners. If anyone can clear Andrew’s name and sort out this mess, she can.’

Intriguingly, Ms Roberts’s lawyer David Boies attempted to serve a copy of the civil suit on Ms Berk.

Paperwork filed in New York on Friday contained a response from her saying she was ‘not authorised’ to accept the documents. She failed to respond to questions yesterday about whether she was representing the Prince.

He is ‘unlikely’ to have lawyers representing him tomorrow when a New York judge will hear from Ms Roberts’s lawyers, who will outline the civil case against him and attempt to offer ‘proof’ that they have successfully served the lawsuit on Andrew in the UK.

Pictured: Jeffrey Epstein

Pictured: Jeffrey Epstein 

The source said: ‘The other side are very good at garnering headlines but ultimately it comes down to the law. The Prince’s legal team has no intention of validating this… suit by attending Monday’s hearing. They are confident they can get Virginia’s suit dismissed.’

One of the possible grounds for dismissal may be a 2009 agreement Ms Roberts signed with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in which she reportedly agreed not to sue any of his friends, associates or employees in exchange for a financial settlement.

Epstein committed suicide in a New York jail cell in 2019 after being charged with multiple child sex offences.

The source added: ‘The Epstein agreement may well be enough to cover Prince Andrew and get the case tossed [out].’

On Friday, a source close to the Duke of York said that his UK lawyer Gary Bloxsome was feeling ‘very chilled’ about tomorrow’s hearing, adding: ‘I very much expect we won’t see the Duke’s lawyers represented at Monday’s hearing. No one will want to be in court to engage with proceedings.’

However, Ms Roberts’s lawyers believe they will be able to convince the judge that the papers were successfully served on the Duke, which will then ‘start the clock ticking’ for Andrew’s team to respond within 21 days or face having a default judgment made against him.

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