Prince Andrew not voluntarily cooperating with federal prosecutors investigating Jeffrey Epstein, US attorney says
iStock(NEW YORK) — Prince Andrew has “completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation” with federal prosecutors in New York who are investigating Jeffrey Epstein, U.S. Attorney Geoff Berman said Monday.
The office is now “considering its options,” Berman said.
An earlier press release on Prince Andrew’s behalf said that he would cooperate with the ongoing case but formal communication has not happened despite outreach by the U.S. attorney’s office, the office has said.
Berman did not make clear what options he is considering.
Prince Andrew’s barrister and Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
Following the death of Epstein, Berman announced that the investigation into possible co-conspirators who worked with Epstein and facilitated his crimes would continue.
The U.S. attorney declined to elaborate on what prosecutors would like to know from Prince Andrew, although Berman said Epstein could not have committed the crimes he did without help from co-conspirators.
In a November statement, the Duke of York said, “I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations.”
The queen’s second son has long been associated with Epstein, the convicted sex offender who died in prison early last year. But Prince Andrew has downplayed his relationship with Epstein in the past.
The Duke of York acknowledged in November during an interview with the BBC that he “let the side down, simple as that” when he stayed at Epstein’s New York mansion after he’d been convicted of sex crimes.
“I kick myself for it on a daily basis ’cause it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the … highest standards and practices,” Prince Andrew said.
Prince Andrew claimed in an interview with the BBC that the purpose of that visit was to inform Epstein he could no longer be associated with him due to his criminal conduct.
“I felt that doing it over the telephone was the chicken’s way of doing it,” he said. “I had to go and see him and talk to him.”
Epstein had been the subject of state and federal investigations since the mid-2000s for allegedly recruiting underage girls for illicit sex. He ultimately served 13 months of an 18-month term in a Florida county jail for two minor charges after avoiding federal charges involving allegations of abuse by nearly three dozen girls.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleged in court filings in December 2014 that she’d been directed by Epstein and his longtime companion, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, to have sex with Prince Andrew on two occasions when she was 17, and on a third occasion when she’d just turned 18.
Prince Andrew maintained in the BBC interview that “nothing” happened between him and Giuffre but said he could be “duty-bound” to testify regarding the allegations under oath if he were asked.
The prince has said he never witnessed any of the criminal conduct that Epstein was convicted of or was accused of.
“Well I’m like everybody else and I will have to take all the legal advice that there was before I was to do that sort of thing,” he said. “But if push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty-bound to do so.”
Attorneys for Giuffre say they have been seeking interviews and testimony with Prince Andrew in connection with civil litigation surrounding the Epstein case since 2015.
They say they first sent a letter seeking testimony to the palace and representatives for the prince in early 2015 — following his public denials of the allegations raised by Giuffre — and again in September 2019 after reports began to surface that he, through unnamed sources, was disputing the authenticity of the photo of him with Giuffre from 2001.
Prince Andrew later appeared to question the authenticity of the photo in the BBC interview.
After the ill-fated interview aired, the Duke of York stepped back from royal duties, saying in a statement that his ties to Epstein had become a “major disruption” to the royal family’s charitable work.
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