US judge rejects sex allegations against Prince Andrew
A federal judge has rejected a bid by two women to join a high-profile sexual abuse lawsuit and ordered scandalous sex allegations against the Duke of York and a prominent US lawyer removed from the court record.
US district judge Kenneth Marra's ruling came in a case involving wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The two women, identified as Jane Does No 3 and No 4, claim to be among dozens of women Epstein sexually abused as teenagers at locations ranging from a Palm Beach mansion to a private Caribbean island to a sprawling New Mexico ranch.
The women wanted to join a lawsuit filed by other alleged victims.
The lawsuit against the US government seeks to reopen a non-prosecution agreement Epstein reached with federal prosecutors.
Epstein pleaded guilty more than six years ago to state sex offences and served a 13-month jail sentence, but could have got a much longer prison term if the justice department had brought charges.
Federal prosecutors opposed allowing the two Jane Does to join the lawsuit, which was filed in 2008, and Judge Marra agreed.
"Justice does not require amendment in this instance," the judge wrote.
Judge Marra also ordered sensational allegations against Andrew and well-known lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a former Harvard Law School professor, stricken from the court record.
Both denied any wrongdoing, with Dershowitz contending in his own court filings that Jane Doe No 3 made up sex abuse stories involving him.
Buckingham Palace stood by Andrew, the second son of the Queen.
Judge Marra said the sex abuse details had no bearing on the lawsuit's goal of reopening the Epstein non-prosecution agreement.
"The factual details regarding with whom and where the Jane Does engaged in sexual activities are immaterial and impertinent to this central claim," the judge wrote. "These unnecessary details shall be stricken."
Lawyers for the Jane Does did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment. They could appeal against the decision.
Their lawsuit, filed by two other Jane Doe victims, claims federal prosecutors improperly concealed the Epstein non-prosecution agreement, violating federal victims' rights laws.
If it is reopened, Epstein could be exposed anew to federal prosecution and the US government could be forced to pay the women damages.
Epstein has already reached out-of-court financial settlements with dozens of the victims.