U.S district judge Lewis Kaplan said during a phone conference with lawyers in New York on Wednesday that Prince Andrew could face a trial date between September and December of 2022.
The Duke of York faces a civil suit of "rape in the first degree" from alleged victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre. She claimed the royal sexually abused her when she was a minor and was lent to him for sexual purposes by the deceased sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince Andrew vehemently denies the accusations and even said in a TV interview that he does not know the complainant, even though there is a picture of them together. He would have to file a deposition over her claims and could be grilled under oath next year.
David Boies, Giuffre's lawyer, said during the conference that he expects to bring in "eight to 12" witnesses for the trial. He said parties involved from both sides would need to file depositions, which according to The Sun will start in the coming weeks. Deposition refers to formal recorded interviews with lawyers that become part of the evidence in the civil case.
"In addition, there are a number of potential witnesses. I think we will be prepared to start some of the depositions relatively promptly. But some of the ones we may not identify for two months," the attorney told Kaplan adding that "there are two people in the United Kingdom" who may have to be compelled to provide testimony.
The 61-year-old's attorney Andrew Brettler said he is "not ruling out the possibility" of making a similar request. He said he is likely going to call eight to 12 witnesses too.
It is believed that Prince Andrew's immediate family will be involved in the trial since he had made them his alibi on the day that Giuffre said he met the royal at a London club. He had said he was at a birthday party accompanying his daughter Princess Beatrice so he could not have been with the plaintiff. Sigrid McCawley, another lawyer for Guiffre, said the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and their daughters Princess Beatrice and Eugenie could be grilled over the sexual abuse case too.