Prince Andrew hires lawyer who represents rape-accused Hollywood star Armie Hammer

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Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell
Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell

The Duke of York has appointed a high-profile lawyer who represents a Hollywood star accused of rape.

Andrew Brettler, who is based in Los Angeles, was instructed by Prince Andrew within the past fortnight, the Telegraph understands.

The attorney represents Call Me By My Name actor Armie Hammer, who was accused of emotional abuse, manipulation and violence by several women earlier this year.

Mr Brettler applied to take part in a pre-trial hearing in the Duke’s sexual assault case at the eleventh hour on Monday evening, shortly before it was due to start.

A document lodged with the New York court revealed he would contest claims that the Duke had been served with the civil lawsuit and also challenge US jurisdiction.

The Duke’s accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, claims she was forced to have sex with him three times when she was aged 17 in New York, London and the US Virgin Islands. She is suing him under New York’s Child Victims Act.

Ms Giuffre alleges she was introduced to the Duke through his friend Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted paedophile who killed himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial for further offences.

Mr Brettler has represented several men facing sexual assault charges, including Hammer, comedian Chris D’Elia, who was accused of soliciting child pornography from 17-year-old girl, and Hollywood director Bryan Singer.

Hollywood lawyer Andrew Brettler (right) will represent the Duke of York
Hollywood lawyer Andrew Brettler (right) will represent the Duke of York
Armie Hammer, right, stars as Maxim de Winter in the 2020 film Rebecca
Armie Hammer, right, stars as Maxim de Winter in the 2020 film Rebecca

Hammer is currently under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. A 24-year-old woman accused the Social Network star of violent rape and physical abuse throughout their four-year relationship.

Several other anonymous women also came forward with accusations of sexual impropriety.

Mr Brettler has denied the allegations on Hammer's behalf, claiming all such interactions were "completely consensual".

A profile on law firm Lavely & Singer’s website reveals that Mr Brettler was named among the Hollywood Reporter’s 2019 Top 100 “power lawyers”.

He is working closely with the Duke’s UK-based legal team, led by Gary Bloxsome of Blackfords law firm, and was expected to update Prince Andrew on developments following the 30-minute hearing.

Mr Bloxsome last week warned he would challenge the jurisdiction of the US courts as he sought to have Ms Giuffre’s claim struck out.

He said he was still considering the “complex” legal position but did not accept that they had been served the court papers, as her legal team has alleged.

Lawyers acting for Ms Giuffre lodged papers with the New York district court on Friday claiming that the Duke had been formally served in “multiple methods” that complied with both English law and the Hague Convention.

The summons and the complaint were delivered to his home in Windsor and also emailed to his UK lawyers and to his Royal household office email address.

Prince Andrew’s lawyers will try to have the case struck out on the grounds of a 2009 settlement between Ms Giuffre and Epstein, which allegedly includes a clause precluding her from suing any of the financier’s friends, employees or associates. The Duke’s team are trying to have that financial settlement disclosed to them.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims the Duke sexually assaulted her while she was a teenager. Here she is pictured holding a photograph of herself as a young woman
Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims the Duke sexually assaulted her while she was a teenager. Here she is pictured holding a photograph of herself as a young woman

Mr Bloxsome has suggested that Ms Giuffre’s legal team “may have some duty of candour” to the court on the matter.

However, David Boies, Ms Giuffre’s lawyer, described the notion as “erroneous” and said Prince Andrew was not, and could not have been, a party to that case.

The exchange of views marked the first public clash between the two sides in a case that experts have warned could drag on for years.

Judge Lewis Kaplan was expected to hear arguments about whether the court summons was properly served on the Duke on August 27 before setting a timetable for the management of the case.

If he determines that correct procedure was followed, the Duke could only have until Friday to respond, or otherwise risk being found in default and having to pay damages.

The Duke is currently on holiday at Balmoral, the Queen’s Aberdeenshire estate, where he reportedly held a shooting party at the weekend.

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