US lawyer and former Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, accused of having sex with an under-age girl in a case involving British Prince Andrew, has begun legal action to clear his name.
The Duke of York and Mr. Dershowitz were named in US court papers relating to the handling of a case against financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Lawyers representing the person prosecuting, now an adult, say they are preparing to present evidence of her claim.
Buckingham Palace says the sex claims against the duke lack “any foundation”.
Mr. Dershowitz filed papers at a court in Florida, where the case is being heard, to contest what he described as “absolutely outrageous claims”.
Dershowitz has asked for his name to be removed from documents which accuse him and Prince Andrew of having sexual relations with Virginia Roberts, known in court as Jane Doe #3, who was under the age of consent at the time of the alleged incidents.
Mr Dershowitz and Prince Andrew are two of three well-known men named in court documents. In his submission to the court, Mr Dershowitz said he had been a victim of “salacious and scurrilous” allegations and wanted to take action to protect his reputation.
Before his papers were filed, lawyers for the woman said they stood by their story and challenged Mr Dershowitz to provide any evidence that he believed would refute their allegations.
The lawyers later filed a lawsuit against Mr Dershowitz, claiming comments he made during media interviews amounted to defamation against them.
Speaking to Reuters news agency about his legal action, Mr Dershowitz said: “We file a sworn declaration categorically denying the charges and proving by records and other travel documents that I could not have been in the places that she says that she had sex with me.
“We file a motion to intervene in the court and then we file a defamation action against the two lawyers and the woman. And then we file disbarment proceedings against the two lawyers.”
Ms. Roberts and another woman are attempting to bring their case to court by joining action already being taken by two other women, part of a wider case involving Epstein.
Ms. Roberts’s lawyers issued a statement following Mr Dershowitz’s declaration being filed, stating that the four women “do not oppose Mr Dershowitz having an opportunity to present his arguments to the court.
“Jane Doe #3 (Ms. Roberts), however, has been viciously attacked by Mr Dershowitz.
“We have requested an opportunity to meet with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida so that we can seek their assistance in presenting evidence (including evidence possessed by the government) that will help Jane Doe #3 respond to these unfair attacks.”
BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said Mr Dershowitz’s submission questions the woman’s credibility, and that would not harm Prince Andrew.
BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman said there was no constitutional ban on the prince suing and it would not be unprecedented as other members of the Royal family had done so, but generally not for libel.
Two women, whose names have not been revealed but are referred to as Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2, are suing the US government. They claim that it failed to protect their rights when it entered a plea deal with Epstein – who spent time in jail in 2008-9 for a sex offense with a minor. Virginia Roberts and a woman known as Jane Doe #4 – now want to join the case.
Documents filed in a Florida court last week allege that Ms Roberts was sexually trafficked by Epstein, who forced her to make herself available for sex to “politically connected and financially powerful people”.