A woman who said in court papers she was forced as an underage girl to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew, prominent U.S. lawyer Alan Dershowitz and other men cannot join an ongoing lawsuit in Florida, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.
The lawsuit, filed in 2008, seeks to undo a non-prosecution agreement between federal prosecutors and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who the woman said arranged the sex with Prince Andrew and Dershowitz.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled that it was unnecessary for the woman, known in court papers as Jane Doe No. 3, and another known as Jane Doe No. 4 to join the lawsuit.
Prince Andrew and Dershowitz have denied the allegations, which for three months have been a tabloid sensation in the United States and the United Kingdom. A lawyer for Epstein has called the allegations old and discredited.
Epstein, a financier from New York, pleaded guilty in a Florida state court in 2008 to procuring an underage girl for prostitution. He served a year in jail, and the U.S. Justice Department agreed not to bring federal charges.
Marra wrote that he would decide later on the merits of the case, in which two other women, known as Jane Doe Nos. 1 and 2, say federal prosecutors violated their rights as crime victims when signing the deal with Epstein.
The judge wrote that he could still consider relevant evidence from Jane Doe Nos. 3 and 4, but that their participation in the case “as listed parties is not necessary in that regard.”
Lawyers for the four women did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A lawyer for Dershowitz also did not immediately respond.
Federal prosecutors, who had opposed the request by Jane Doe Nos. 3 and 4 to join the lawsuit, had no comment on the ruling, a spokeswoman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Southern Florida said.