A judge has ruled that sex allegations made against Prince Andrew be struck from the record of a civil case in the US. District Judge Kenneth Mara decided that Virginia Roberts could not join a lawsuit against the Duke of York's former friend, Jeffrey Epstein, making her claims against Andrew "unnecessary" in determining its outcome.
"The factual details regarding with whom and where the James Does engaged in sexual activities are immaterial and impertinent to this central claim," the Florida judge stated. "These unnecessary details shall be stricken."
A judge has ruled that allegations against Prince Andrew be thrown out
BBC correspondent Nicholas Witchell said that Judge Mara had expressed no opinion as to the "validity or veracity" of the allegations against the Prince.
Virginia Roberts was one of many woman who claimed to have been assaulted by Mr Epstein. She also alleged she had had sex with Andrew when she was 17.
Her claims were emphatically, and repeatedly, denied by the Palace on behalf of the Prince. A spokesperson confirmed that Andrew had been informed of the latest news, and was spending the week privately before resuming his public engagements next week.
Two women, known as Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2, are suing the US government, saying it failed to protect their rights when it entered into a plea deal with Mr Epstein, who spent time in jail in 2008-2009 for a sex offence with a minor.
Miss Roberts – referred to as Jane Doe #3 in court documents – and a second unnamed woman had been attempting to join the claim against the government. But the judge denied their attempt, stating that too much time had passed since the original lawsuit for two new women to add their names to the case.
He said Miss Roberts' allegations about Andrew were "unnecessary to the determination" of the case, and stated that sex abuse allegations had no bearing on the lawsuit's goal of reopening the Epstein non-prosecution agreement.
Under the agreement, the investment banker pleaded guilty to state sex offences and served 13 months of an 18-month jail sentence – a far shorter sentence than he could have faced in a federal prosecution.