A lawyer for Prince Andrew requested that the judge in the sex abuse case against Jeffrey Epstein issue a protective order on the settlement reached last year between the British royal and the alleged victim, Virginia “Gigi” Mottola.
The lawyers want to seal evidence from public view, including the $1.7 million settlement they reached last fall.
The judge has ordered disclosure of certain emails that appear to implicate Prince Andrew in illegal sex practices with underage girls.
News reports have raised the possibility that Prince Andrew paid off a girl underage at the time of the alleged 2006 assault and that the prince has covered for his friend, business magnate Jeffrey Epstein, who is suspected of paying underage girls to have sex with him.
The settlement was never announced, and it was confirmed that Epstein also received a $450,000 settlement.
Prince Andrew is the divorced brother of Queen Elizabeth II and the second oldest son of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. He is a prominent author, trade envoy and Duke of York.
During his testimony last year, Epstein told the court he met Prince Andrew at a business meeting in the U.S. in the summer of 1998.
Epstein said the two began a sexual relationship when the prince visited Epstein’s Florida mansion in 2000. That year the prince landed a job at a London investment company as its head of commercial sales, a role Epstein said he took over.
During his deposition, Prince Andrew said he was friends with Epstein as they worked together in a London investment firm. He said the two met at an $800-a-night hotel suite in Miami Beach. He said the prince did not know that the women in Epstein’s suite were minors.
In response to questions, Prince Andrew denied having a sexual relationship with Mottola and said he didn’t know she was underage. He said he had invited her to an exclusive British resort resort and had taken her out and treated her well at a polo match.
The prince said he was outraged when he learned last year that she was charged in a Florida court with prostitution.
Prince Andrew’s lawyers asked that a protective order be issued on the details of the settlement because the allegations against the prince remain sealed in the lawsuit in a Washington, D.C., federal court.
The judge in the case is currently handling Prince Andrew’s deposition while he reviews evidence that includes his emails.
The judge said Wednesday that it would be unfair to reveal the details of the emails. He said that when the emails are disclosed, the public will be able to “make up its own mind” about the prince.
The judge said it would be appropriate to hide some emails from public view, but then said his balance will probably have to lean toward revealing some of the emails to preserve the information’s fairness.
“Unless there’s something wrong, you can see that there’s some emails that may be grounds for a court to think there was some negligence,” the judge said.
Peter Bronstein, an attorney for Prince Andrew, said his client wouldn’t object to a protective order.
“Neither he nor I are talking to see what secret documents there are.”
It was not immediately clear if the Prince had reached a settlement with Mottola, who is represented by A. Daneek Miller. A spokesman for the prince declined to comment when contacted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.