Birmingham Post

Failure to front up now will mean a lifetime of suspicion

- Chris Bucktin STATESIDE

The longer the Prince chooses to remain silent, the more the suspicion grows he has something to hide

FOR a man who unashamedl­y refused to say he had any regrets over his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew must today be full of remorse.

Once a leading royal enjoying the privileges it brought, Air Miles Andy, as he was nicknamed, jetted around the world attending the planet’s glitziest events.

Now following a bombshell civil lawsuit this week by Epstein’s teenage ‘sex slave’ Virginia Giuffre against the Duke of York, he is ensconced at Balmoral with his mum and former wife, Sarah Ferguson.

The 38-year-old mum-of-three filed papers in New York on Monday claiming Andrew sexually assaulted her two decades ago when she was 17 years old.

Giuffre alleges she was loaned out to the Duke for sex by Epstein and his alleged ‘recruiter’ Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001 on three occasions in New York, London and the US Virgin Islands.

Prince Andrew and his legal team have vehemently and repeatedly denied her claims and at one point, during what can only be described as a car crash interview with BBC Newsnight, saying he could not even recall ever meeting her.

In her most shocking claim, Giuffre says she feared for her life if she did not sleep with him.

According to her suit, it states: “Plaintiff (Giuffre) was compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, Maxwell, and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts with Prince Andrew, and feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussi­ons for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connection­s, wealth, and authority.”

On Tuesday, New York’s

Southern District Court signed off on the ‘summons in a civil action’ giving Andrew 21 days to respond once he had been served Giuffre’s lawsuit. Good luck with that. The papers warned him: “If you fail to respond, judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint.

”You also must file your answer or motion with the court.”

Due to the lawsuit being a civil case, the Duke cannot be extradited to the US to appear in court.

As Giuffre pursues “significan­t” damages from him, the Atlantic Ocean provides him great protection.

Experts say the royal cannot rely on diplomatic immunity to avoid the case as it only applies to the Queen and her immediate household. But lawyers say the Duke, 61, could not be forced to attend the New York jury trial Giuffre is demanding because UK citizens cannot be extradited for civil cases. No court can compel Andrew to give evidence unless he is on US soil or any of its territorie­s. However, even if he does not attend court, legal experts say lawyers will be able to go ahead with the case in his absence.

In the meantime, Andrew is left looking over his shoulder, wondering if Giuffre’s legal papers will ever be served on him. Is that really how he wants to live? The only court his ongoing refusal to speak serves is the one of public opinion, which is all too prepared to cast its verdict with or without the facts. The longer the Prince chooses to remain silent, the more the suspicion grows he has something to hide.

WHAT hope has America got in its fight against Covid when many of its leaders actively hinder the battle?

This week, deluded Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene was suspended from Twitter for a week for saying the vaccines are “failing” because they “do not reduce the spread of the virus”.

”These vaccines are failing and do not reduce the spread of the virus and neither do masks,” she wrote. ”Vaccine mandates and passports violate individual freedoms,” she added.

What nonsense. Like the UK, fully vaccinated people are still contractin­g Covid-19, but data shows they’re being protected against severe disease, hospitalis­ation and death. What is most worrying here is how many believe her lies. If people like Taylor Greene jabbed rather than jibbered, the spread of stupidity would be stopped.

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