A sexual assault lawsuit brought against Britain's Prince Andrew is expected to go to trial before a New York jury towards the end of next year, a US judge said Wednesday.
Virginia Giuffre has sued the royal for unspecified damages, alleging he sexually assaulted her more than 20 years ago when she was 17 and a minor under American law.
The 61-year-old Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II's second son, has not been criminally charged and has repeatedly and strenuously denied the allegations.
"I can't give you a trial date today," district judge Lewis Kaplan told attorneys for both sides during a pre-trial conference, citing the pandemic.
"But I can say that I would anticipate somewhere in the September to December period of next year," he added.
Lawyers for Andrew and Giuffre said they planned to seek depositions from about eight to 12 individuals each, including the parties themselves.
Giuffre attorney David Boies said testimony would be sought from two people in Britain. He did not name them and added that he did not think they would need to be subpoenaed.
"I think we may be able to get them to appear voluntarily," said Boies.
Giuffre alleges that late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein lent her out for sex with his wealthy and powerful associates, including Andrew.
She says the prince assaulted her at Epstein's home in New York, as well as on his private island in the US Virgin Islands.
Giuffre alleges that Andrew also sexually abused her at the London home of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
Epstein died in a Manhattan jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges, in what New York's coroner ruled was a suicide.
Maxwell is due to go on trial in New York on November 29 on charges that she recruited underage girls for Epstein to abuse. She has pleaded not guilty.
Andrew has rarely been seen in public since he was forced to quit the royal frontline in 2019 for failing to distance himself from Epstein.
His lawyers launched a blistering attack on Giuffre in court documents last week, accusing her of seeking to profit from a "baseless lawsuit."