judge’s ruling against Prince Andrew in a sexual abuse lawsuit Wednesday was bad news for the British royal. But it doesn’t say much about whether his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, will ultimately prevail in her civil suit, or even substantially increase the likelihood the case will wind up before a jury.

A look at the ruling and where the case stands:

THE RULING

Giuffre sued Andrew last year, saying that the American financier Jeffrey Epstein and his companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, arranged sexual encounters with the prince starting when she was 17.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan’s ruling Wednesday in New York didn’t address the truth of those allegations at all. It dealt with narrow legal challenges raised by Andrew’s lawyers, who said the lawsuit should be dismissed now, at an extremely early stage.

They had argued that when Giuffre settled a similar lawsuit against Epstein in 2009 for $500,000, she had signed away her right to sue any other potential defendants. They also questioned the constitutionality of a New York state law that temporarily waived the usual statute of limitations for lawsuits brought by victims of childhood sexual abuse.

The ruling was expected. Kaplan had all but ruled against Andrew last week when he shot down nearly every argument offered by the Duke of York’s lawyers.

Since the judge’s ruling dealt only with a few preliminary issues, there is a lot more ground to cover before the case gets to trial.

Andrew’s lawyers could appeal the ruling. They will have opportunities to try to get the case dismissed on other grounds.

As the case develops, the two sides must exchange potential evidence — such as emails, text messages and telephone records — and submit to depositions at which lawyers can question potential trial witnesses.

Giuffre has been through many such depositions before in lawsuits against Maxwell and other people, but Andrew has never been questioned about the matter under oath — something he may want to avoid at all costs.

Once the exchange of evidence concludes, defense lawyers often make a new request to toss out the case judging by what they’ve learned. The judge then makes rulings that may help lawyers understand the risks of going to trial.

Bir cevap yazın