The Daily Telegraph

Duke’s new lawyer in 11th-hour turnabout

- By Victoria Ward

THE Duke of York’s legal strategy took a last-minute about-turn after his newly appointed American lawyer intervened, The Daily Telegraph understand­s.

Prince Andrew’s Londonbase­d legal team had planned to “stonewall” proceeding­s in the sexual assault civil case and had no intention of taking part in Monday evening’s pre-trial hearing before a New York federal judge.

However, when Andrew Brettler, a high-profile Hollywood lawyer, was hired as lead counsel, he warned it would do them no favours to ignore the judge’s order.

Mr Brettler has represente­d a string of celebritie­s on sexual assault charges, including the actor Armie Hammer, who is accused of rape and of expressing cannibalis­tic fantasies to women.

Mr Brettler was instructed by the Duke around a fortnight ago but his involvemen­t had been kept a tightly guarded secret to ensure lawyers representi­ng his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, could not serve him with the lawsuit. However, he made himself known to the court just before Monday evening’s hearing, having persuaded the UK legal team to engage with proceeding­s.

Ms Giuffre, who claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke three times when she was aged 17 in New York, London and the US Virgin Islands, is suing him for undisclose­d damages.

The Duke has strongly denied all the allegation­s.

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