Sarah Ferguson could ‘waive privilege’ and testify against Prince Andrew in trial

Prince Andrew: Sarah Ferguson may speak in trial says Myers

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Prince Andrew is currently involved in a civil lawsuit in the US. The 61-year-old faces sexual assault allegations brought against him by Virginia Giuffre, previously Virginia Roberts, who claims the prince sexually assaulted her three times, including an instance in New York in 2001.

The Duke has strenuously and repeatedly denied her claims.

In early November, a US judge said a civil trial could take place late next year.

For the civil lawsuit, Ms Giuffre’s legal team said they would seek to depose between 8 and 12 people including two British citizens.

During the hearing, Ms Giuffre’s legal rep Mr Boies said his list of potential witnesses included people he “can’t identify right now because I’m not sure who we will be able to get, and that investigation is ongoing”.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the case, asked if either side would make a formal request to legal authorities in the UK to get someone to sit for a deposition.

This then sparked reports in the Telegraph that Andrew’s former wife of 10 years, the Duchess of York, 62, could be among those questioned.

However, the Duke’s previous marriage to Sarah Ferguson could prevent her from testifying if she is called as a witness in his civil lawsuit due to “marital privilege”.

The privilege protects communications privately disclosed between a husband and a wife.

Either spouse is able to invoke the privilege and prevent the other from testifying about their private marital communications in civil or criminal cases.

Adam Citron, Matrimonial Law Partner at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron in New York City told that Sarah could waive her privilege though, and discuss communications the couple may have shared during their marriage.

Mr Citron said: “Communications made during the marriage are privileged, and that privileged status does not change, even though they since got divorced.

“Sarah can, however, waive that privilege if she wants, as the testifying spouse does have that power.”

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The legal partner also advised that any communications made outside of the couple’s marriage are “fair game for the courts”.

He noted that marital privilege does not protect any communications made by the pair after they divorced in 1996, and these would still not be protected even if the pair re-married.

The lawyer explained: “Communications made during the period they were not married are not privileged, and that status also won’t change.

“Even if they were to remarry today, those communications would be fair game for the courts.

“So if Andrew was thinking that, by remarrying Sarah, he could keep certain things from coming to light in the trial, he would be mistaken.”

Within the suit, 38-year-old Ms Giuffre is seeking unspecified damages from the Duke of York, and there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.

Andrew’s legal team which is headed by US lawyer Andrew Brettler had previously urged a US judge to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit, calling her claims “baseless” in an effort to “achieve another payday”.

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