Judge in Prince Andrew suit says key document can be secret

Britain-Prince Andrew

NEW YORK (AP) — A 2008 settlement agreement that a lawyer for Prince Andrew says would protect him against claims that he sexually abused an American when she was 17 can remain secret, a New York judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan made the ruling in a brief order released a day after Andrew's lawyer asked that the document remain sealed when he files arguments explaining why he thinks the judge should throw out the lawsuit. Attorney Andrew Brettler said he wanted to include a copy of the agreement with the arguments.

In the August lawsuit, Virginia Giuffre claims that the prince abused her on multiple occasions in 2001. Andrew has said he never had sex with her.

Brettler, who has called the lawsuit “baseless, ” said neither the prince nor Giuffre contend that the release agreement must remain sealed, but they requested that it stay secret because it is subject to a protective order from another judge presiding over a federal civil action in New York.

The settlement agreement was reached between Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead at age 66 in his cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial at a New York federal ja