Headlines are proclaiming, "Prince Andrew sex abuse allegations thrown out!" Well, not exactly.
The headlines can be a bit misleading. Two women's allegations against Prince Andrew have been stricken from the record of a lawsuit because the judge ruled them irrelevant.
Two other women, Jane Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. 2 are suing the United States government. They claim that they were victims of Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the Prince's. As such, they had a right to know about any plea agreements the government made with Jeffrey Epstein. Since the non-prosecution agreement was improperly concealed from them, they seek to negate the agreement between the Justice Department and Jeffrey Epstein.
Jane Doe No. 3 and Jane Doe No. 4 claimed that they were forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when they were underage. They claim that Epstein prostituted them to Prince Andrew. So, they wanted to join in the lawsuit as plaintiffs with Jane Doe No. 1 and No. 2.
The judge recently ruled that Jane Doe No. 3 and Jane Doe No. 4 couldn't join in the lawsuit as plaintiffs. He also struck the allegations against Prince Andrew because they were irrelevant to the case.
What's The Lawsuit For?
Jane Doe No. 1 and No. 2 sued the U.S. government for violating federal victims' rights laws. The Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA) states, "A crime victim has ... the right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding."
The women claim the Justice Department violated this right when they concealed the plea agreement to not prosecute Epstein. Now they want that agreement thrown out.
Why Can't They Join?
Jane Doe No. 3 and Jane Doe No. 4 cannot join the lawsuit as plaintiffs because they are unnecessary and irrelevant to the issue in the lawsuit. The U.S. government is being sued, not Prince Andrew. The facts of the lawsuit deal with the Justice Department's negotiations with Jeffrey Epstein. According to the judge's decision, the facts regarding any sex allegations are irrelevant to the victim's rights to know about and object to a plea deal.
Does 3 and No. 4's allegations against Prince Andrew have no bearing on whether or not the Justice Department violated the CVRA. This is why the allegations were stricken from the record.
Other than ruling to exclude Jane Doe No. 3 and No. 4 from the lawsuit, the judge did not make a decision on the merits of the case. If the plaintiffs are successful, the government most likely owe them restitution, but what form that restitution will take is unclear at this point.