• Ms Roberts could file a multi-million-pound civil action in New York next week
• Lawyer said bombshell lawsuit ‘based on her being lent out to Prince Andrew’
• Suit would include claims of ‘improper sexual violations’ and claims for damages
Prince Andrew could be sued in an American court by his accuser Virginia Roberts, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Ms Roberts, who claims she was forced to have sex with the Prince by convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein when she was just 17, could file a multi-million-pound civil action in New York as early as this week.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, her lawyer David Boies said the bombshell lawsuit ‘would be based on her being lent out to Prince Andrew for sex by Jeffrey Epstein and [her] being under 18’.
He added the suit would include claims of ‘improper sexual violations, physical and emotional distress’ and would include a claim for damages.
Mr Boies said: ‘To use a common phrase here in the United States, ‘Time’s up.”
The Duke of York has always vehemently denied all charges made by Ms Roberts.
Buckingham Palace previously issued a statement saying: ‘It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.’
The filing of a civil action against the Duke in America is certain to cause huge embarrassment for the Royal family as lawyers will seek to question him under oath about his sex life. He could also be forced to hand over texts, emails and private letters.
A defamation suit, filed by Ms Roberts in 2015 against Ghislaine Maxwell, ended in a settlement – but deeply embarrassing depositions in which Ms Maxwell discussed her sex life were made public last year.
A source said: ‘This could be devastating for Andrew. If he chooses to fight it and is deposed [forced to give evidence], then those depositions could end up being made public.
‘If he ignores it, he could be found guilty in absentia which would be a public relations disaster.’
Under the New York Child Victims Act, Ms Roberts has until next Saturday to file the civil action which will include her claims that she and Prince Andrew had sex three times in 2001.
Although Ms Roberts was then above the UK legal age of consent, in New York a child is considered to be anyone under 18.
She alleges the first encounter took place at the London home of Epstein’s alleged ‘madam’ Ms Maxwell, the second at Epstein’s £77 million New York mansion and the third during an ‘orgy’ on his private island in the Caribbean. Saturday’s deadline was created by the New York Child Victims Act which came into law in 2019.
Previously, victims had up to five years after turning 18 to file a claim against an alleged abuser.
But the new law gave victims a one-off window to make a legal claim, regardless of how old their claim is. The timeline to file those claims expires next Saturday.
The final decision about whether to proceed rests with Ms Roberts, now a 37-year-old mother-of-three who lives in Australia.
Should the Duke ignore the lawsuit, Mr Boies warned it could go to trial without him and the court could enter a default judgment.
The amount of damages would then be set and ‘that judgment could be enforced any place in the world’, Mr Boies said.
Weeks ago Mr Boies sent a second formal letter to the Duke’s lawyers offering to sign an agreement, known as a tolling agreement, that extended the statute of limitations so that both sides could negotiate.
The letter said that Ms Robets needed to file a claim ‘now’ or she risks not being able to file a lawsuit.
So far it has been ignored, according to Mr Boies.
Epstein [allegedly] hanged himself in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
Ms Maxwell, 59, was arrested last July and is due to go on trial in November for allegedly recruiting underage girls for Epstein.
She has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Last night Ms Roberts declined to comment.
A spokesman for Prince Andrew declined to comment.
By Dabiel Bates and Caroline Graham for The Mail on Sunday