Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have rubbished, for the second time, Prince Andrew’s claims of eagerness and willingness to answer questions about his former associate: dead pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Earlier on Monday, Law&Crime reported that federal prosecutors were invoking the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in an attempt to secure the embattled royal’s testimony amid an ongoing investigation of Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking scheme. Prince Andrew’s lawyers claimed in a statement to ABC News that the Duke of York has “on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ.”
“Unfortunately, the DOJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the Duke has offered zero cooperation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered,” the statement went on.
On Monday afternoon, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman saw fit to release a statement in response. Berman said that Prince Andrew has falsely styled himself as an eager and willing cooperator in the ongoing federal investigation into Epstein and his associates:
Today, Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate with an ongoing federal criminal investigation into sex trafficking and related offenses committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates, even though the Prince has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview, and nearly four months ago informed us unequivocally – through the very same counsel who issued today’s release – that he would not come in for such an interview. If Prince Andrew is, in fact, serious about cooperating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open, and we await word of when we should expect him.
It’s not immediately clear if this statement will make Prince Andrew sweat, though it should be noted that the first statement of this kind did not seem to have that effect.
Back in Nov. 2019, Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year-old son decided to “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future.” That decision followed a “car crash” BBC interview, during which the Duke of York was asked: why did you stay at Jeffrey Epstein’s home after Epstein’s first arrest and pseudo-jailing in 2008 on charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution?
Prince Andrew’s answer–“it was a convenient place to stay”–was not exactly received well, particularly because Virginia Roberts Giuffre has alleged that Epstein sex-trafficked her to the prince. But in his statement stepping away from public life, Prince Andrew said he regretted his “ill-judged association” with Epstein, sympathized with Epstein’s victims, and said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
U.S. prosecutors then called out the royal, saying that the offer to cooperate in ongoing investigations was utterly empty. At the time, U.S. Attorney Berman said during a press conference outside of Epstein’s infamous Manhattan mansion that Prince Andrew had not responded to interview requests. Prosecutors in the SDNY brought sex trafficking charges against Epstein in July 2019, but Epstein was never brought to justice. He officially died by suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in August, under circumstances widely known to the public.
“To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,” Berman said, bluntly. “It’s fair for people to know whether Prince Andrew has followed through with that public commitment.”
According to the Telegraph, Andrew was “angry and bewildered” by claims of actual unwillingness to cooperate. An unnamed source said to be close to the royal was quoted as saying that “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
“The Duke is more than happy to talk to the FBI but he hasn’t been approached by them yet,” the person continued. “He is angry about the way this is being portrayed and bewildered as to why this was said in New York. It seems certain people are jumping the gun.”
Andrew said he cut ties with Epstein in 2010, a couple of years after the convicted sex offender was sentenced in Florida state court on two counts for soliciting prostitution. There is a photo of them taking a stroll in Central Park in 2010.
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” Prince Andrew has said of Giuffre, though there is a picture of them together (he has claimed it’s fake). “It didn’t happen.”
Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex with the royal family member on three separate occasions between 2001 and 2002. Giuffre previously described the first time she met Andrew in an interview on NBC’s Dateline:
The first time in London, I was so young. Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and she said, “you’re gonna meet a prince today.” I didn’t know at that point that I was going to be trafficked to that prince. And then that night Prince Andrew came to her house in London. And we went out to club Tramp. Prince Andrew got me alcohol. It was in the VIP section. I’m pretty sure it was vodka. Prince Andrew was like, “Let’s dance together.” And I was like, “Okay.” And we leave club Tramp. And I hop in the car with Ghislaine and Jeffrey. And Ghislaine said, “He’s coming back to the house. And I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein.” I couldn’t believe it.
“He denies that it ever happened,” Giuffre added. “And he’s going to keep denying that it ever happened. But he knows the truth. And I know the truth.”
Prince Andrew has cited his purported past inability to sweat as proof that he did not sexually assault Giuffre.
[Image via LINDSEY PARNABY_AFP via Getty Images]
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