Prince Andrew urged to 'step up and be a man' and testify in Epstein probe after he 'refused' to help US investigators
PRINCE Andrew has been urged to "step up and be a man" after he "refused" to be questioned by US prosecutors investigating Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking network.
It comes after furious US prosecutors accused the Duke of York of repeatedly refusing their requests for interviews as part of their investigation into Epstein's co-conspirators.
Spencer Kuvin, who represents several victims of the billionaire pedophile, has now accused the 60-year-old royal of "utmost arrogance" saying that by not coming forward he is only "hindering" the prosecution of Epstein's pals such as Ghislaine Maxwell, his alleged pimp.
"I can tell you that the clients that I represent have consistently stated that they would like him to come forward and give testimony and evidence regarding the co-conspirators," he said.
"They were really at the heart of these crimes and Ghislaine Maxwell is at the top of that list.
"They're hopeful that his morals will trump his concerns about his own self-interest and morally, he will stand up and be a man and give testimony and give evidence regarding the co-conspirators in this matter that he has knowledge of…
"The only thing that he's hindering now is prosecution of people that can be prosecuted under the laws of both England, and the United States, which would include co-conspirators.
"So we would ask him to step forward, step up, be a man and give testimony so that this prosecution can go forward."
On Monday, lawyers for the Duke insisted he had offered to give a witness statement three times to investigators probing his links to Epstein.
But just hours later, their account was torn apart by angry officials in New York, who said the Prince had "unequivocally" told his office in March he would not be quizzed as part of their Epstein inquiry.
In an explosive statement, Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: “Today, Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to co-operate 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 co-operating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open, and we await word of when we should expect him.”
Kuvin said he fully supported the US Attorney's strong statement – and said he never believed Andrew would help prosecutors, despite his promises to.
"It's the utmost of arrogance," he said. "You've got to a Prince who has no one to answer to, not the English court system or the US court system.
"So if you're in a position where no one can hold you accountable for what you say, then why not say whatever works in your advantage?
"But the reality is, is that we can verify through the US attorney's office, those false statements.
"And if in fact he's telling a lie, then I'm glad the US attorney's office came out and called him on it.
"From the beginning, I've always said I knew that Prince Andrew, despite the fact that in his public appearance he said he would be cooperative, that was just him putting a public image out there at his direction. And it was not ever going to be a reality."
Prince Andrew has been accused of having sex with an underage girl and groping another woman as he flew around the world partying with his pal Epstein.
One of his alleged victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, now 36 – says she had sex with Andrew on three occasions between 2001 and 2002, twice while underage, a claim Andrew denies.
Legal papers also reveal Johanna Sjoberg claims royal touched her breast at Epstein’s home in 2001.
Kuvin says that he believes if the Duke does not speak to US investigators soon, he will be viewed by the world as guilty.
"I think that it's important for the Prince, if he is innocent, to come forward and speak, because otherwise I think the world will see him as guilty," he said.
"And unless he comes forward and volunteers, the only thing that anyone should take from that is that he's done something wrong and he's afraid of talking about it."
Prince Andrew's full statement
In January 2020, Blackfords LLP and instructed counsel, Clare Montgomery QC and Stephen Ferguson, were commissioned to support HRH The Duke of York in his desire to provide cooperation to the US authorities regarding the victims of the late Jeffrey Epstein, should those authorities request his assistance.
The working group is supported by Riverside Advisory on media relations.
To date, we have chosen not to make any public statement regarding our discussions with the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
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 discussions with potential witnesses.
However, in view of misleading media briefings, we owe it to our client to issue this clarifying statement.
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.
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 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.
On 27th January 2020, Mr Geoffrey S Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, chose to make a public statement about the Duke.
This led to worldwide media reports that there had been “a wall of silence” and that there had been “zero co-operation” by the Duke.
These statements were inaccurate, and they should not have been made.
On 9th March 2020, Mr Berman made further public statements saying that the Duke had “completely shut the door” on cooperating with the US investigation and that they are now “considering” further options.
Again, the first statement was inaccurate and should not have been made.
It is a matter of regret that the DOJ has seen fit to breach its own rules of confidentiality, not least as they are designed to encourage witness cooperation.
Far from our client acting above the law, as has been implied by press briefings in the US, he is being treated by a lower standard than might reasonably be expected for any other citizen.
Further, those same breaches of confidentiality by the DOJ have given the global media – and, therefore, the worldwide audience – an entirely misleading account of our discussions with them.
Any pursuit of an application for mutual legal assistance would be disappointing, since the Duke of York is not a target of the DOJ investigation and has recently repeated his willingness to provide a witness statement.
It is hoped that this third offer has not been the cause of the most recent leak about the Duke of York.
We do not intend to make any further public statement at this time as we wish to respect the rules of confidentiality under both English law and the US guidelines.
The Duke of York has faced widespread criticism after the US Department of Justice claimed he had refused to speak with them as part of their investigation into Epstein’s evil trafficking network.
Until now it was thought he was only likely to be the target of action by Epstein’s victims in the US civil courts.
However The Sun revealed the US Department of Justice has filed a “mutual legal assistance” (MLA) request to the Home Office.
MLA requests are only used in criminal cases under a legal treaty with the UK.
It means Andrew could now be forced to appear in a UK court as a witness within months.
The Duke has always categorically denied any wrongdoing and claims he has no recollection of ever meeting his accuser Giuffre.
Giuffre alleges that Epstein paid her around £300 to have sex with Andrew at Epstein’s New York mansion.
In evidence to a Florida court in 2015, she claimed to have had an orgy with Andrew and eight other girls at Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
Epstein was jailed in Florida in 2008 after being convicted for procuring an underage girl for prostitution and soliciting a prostitute.
Andrew was pictured staying at the convicted sex offender’s New York mansion for three nights later that year.
He claimed he made the trip to end the friendship face-to-face, saying it was a “convenient place to stay”.
Epstein, 66, was found dead in his cell last August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
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