The Department of Justice has requested an interview with Prince Andrew in connection with an alleged sex trafficking ring run by the financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein died by suicide in his Manhattan jail cell last year while awaiting trial for rape and sexual abuse charges. Prince Andrew was a longtime acquaintance of the financier and has been accused of sexually abusing girls trafficked by Epstein.
The DOJ asked to interview the Duke of York through a mutual legal assistance treaty request, used between countries seeking help with criminal investigations, sources familiar with the request told CNN.
Prince Andrew’s attorneys issued a lengthy statement to Fox News saying that the prince has never been a “target” of the DOJ’s investigation into Epstein’s accomplices.
“To date, we have chosen not to make any public statement regarding our discussions with the US Department of Justice (DOJ),” London-based law firm Blackfords LLP said. “Our commitment to confidentiality is not only regarded as best practice in the UK but is also intended to respect the DOJ’s commitment to confidentiality, as set out in its own rules as they apply to discussion with potential witnesses.”
“As the public record indicates the DOJ has been actively investigating Mr. Epstein and other targets for more than 16 years, yet the first time they requested the Duke’s help was on 2nd January 2020,” the law firm continued. “Importantly, the DOJ advised us that the Duke is not and has never been a ‘target’ of their criminal investigations into Epstein and that they sought his confidential, voluntary cooperation. In the course of these discussions, we asked the DOJ to confirm that our co-operation and any interview arrangements would remain confidential, in accordance with the ordinary rules that apply to voluntary co-operation with the DOJ.”
“We were given an unequivocal assurance that our discussions and the interview process would remain confidential,” the firm said. “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.”
U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman, who is leading the investigation into Epstein’s sex ring, has said multiple times that the Duke of York has rebuffed all requests from the DOJ seeking assistance with its investigation, despite Prince Andrew’s public statements to the contrary.
“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 and 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 council who issued today’s release – that he would not come in for an interview,” Berman said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) June 8, 2020
Prince Andrew has denied allegations that he took part in Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme and said that continuing his associations with Epstein were “a mistake and an error” after the dead financier was convicted of soliciting sex from an underage girl in 2008.
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