Sarah Ferguson could ‘waive privilege’ and testify against Prince Andrew at trial | Royal | New
Prince Andrew is currently involved in a civil lawsuit in the United States. The 61-year-old faces sexual assault allegations brought against him by Virginia Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, who claims the prince sexually assaulted her three times, including one in New York City in 2001.
The Duke has vigorously and repeatedly denied his allegations.
In early November, a US judge said a civil trial could take place at the end of next year.
For the civil trial, Ms Giuffre’s legal team said they would seek to testify between 8 and 12 people, including two UK citizens.
During the hearing, Ms Giuffre’s legal representative, Mr Boies, said his list of potential witnesses included people he “cannot identify at the moment because I don’t know who we will be able to get,” and this investigation is ongoing “.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the case, asked whether either party would make a formal request to the UK judicial authorities to have someone 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 to testify in her civil lawsuit due to “marital privilege.”
The privilege protects confidential communications between a husband and a wife.
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Either spouse can claim privilege and prevent the other from testifying about their private conjugal communications in civil or criminal matters.
Adam Citron, a marriage law partner at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron in New York, told Express.co.uk that Sarah could, however, waive her privilege and discuss communications the couple might have shared during their marriage.
Mr Citron said: “Communications made during marriage are privileged and that privileged status does not change, even if they have since divorced.
“Sarah can, however, waive this privilege if she wishes, because the witnessing spouse has this power. “
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The legal partner also said any communication made outside of the couple’s marriage is “fair to the courts.”
He noted that the marital privilege does not protect any communications made by the couple after their divorce in 1996, and that these would still not be protected even if the couple remarried.
The lawyer explained, “Communications made during the time they were not married are not privileged, and that status will not change either.
“Even if they were to remarry today, these communications would be a fair game for the courts.
“So if Andrew thought that by remarrying Sarah he could prevent certain things from coming out at trial, he would be wrong.”
As part of the lawsuit, Ms Giuffre, 38, is seeking unspecified damages from the Duke of York, and there is speculation the sum could run into the millions of dollars.
Andrew’s legal team, led by US attorney Andrew Brettler, had previously urged a US judge to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit, calling her claims “baseless” in an effort to “carry out another salary”.