'Prince Andrew used me for sex' claims are struck out
A US judge has ruled that sex allegations made against Prince Andrew in court papers filed in Florida must be struck from the public record.
The Prince and Buckingham Palace strenuously denied the allegations in the court documents that he sexually abused a 17-year-old girl who claimed she was used as a sex slave.
Kenneth Marra, the federal district judge in West Palm Beach, has now rejected a bid by two women to join a lawsuit against the US government over its handling of the case of Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire financier and convicted paedophile.
He ordered that the claims made by one of the women involving the Duke and several prominent Americans in the filings lodged by her lawyer must be removed from the court record.
The Duke was never accused of any offence and he strenuously denied the claims of the woman, who was referred to in court papers as Jane Doe 3 but who later identified herself as Virginia Roberts, now 31.
She was one of several women who claimed they were sexually abused as under-age teenagers by Epstein and passed for use as sex slaves by his acquaintances at parties at various locations, including his Palm Beach mansion and a private Caribbean island.
Ms Roberts and the second unnamed woman wanted to join a lawsuit filed by two other alleged victims against the US government to force the re-opening of a non-prosecution deal struck by federal prosecutors with Epstein.
Under the agreement, the investment banker pleaded guilty in 2008 to state sex offences and served 13 months of an 18-month jail sentence – a much shorter term than he could have faced in a federal prosecution.
Judge Marra has now ruled that too much time has passed since the original lawsuit for the two new women to add their names to the case.