Prince Andrew slams DOJ over claims he refused to cooperate in Epstein probe, says he offered help THREE times
Prince Andrew has claimed he offered to help American prosecutors three times in their Jeffrey Epstein investigation while he is being slammed by US authorities.
The US Department of Justice has maintained that the 60-year-old prince refused to speak with them as part of their investigation into Epstein's child sex trafficking operations, sparking widespread criticism against the royal.
The Sun recently revealed that the DOJ had told the UK that the Duke of York is officially part of a criminal probe. Prince Andrew's legal firm has now lashed out at the claims made by United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, that there had been a "wall of silence" from the duke.
"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," legal firm Blackfords LLP said in a statement this afternoon. "In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered."
"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," the continued. "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," the firm added. "It is hoped that this third offer has not been the cause of the most recent leak about the Duke of York."
According to the prince's lawyers, they had been given "unequivocal assurances" that the interview for the duke would be confidential in nature considering the DOJ had said the royal "is not and has never been a ‘target’ of their criminal investigations into Epstein." And so they did not make any further public statements to "respect the rules of confidentiality" in England and in the US.
Speaking to the Sun, a source revealed earlier in the day that the DOJ had "been in contact with Andrew’s lawyers for many months. But they grew tired and were getting nowhere so they upped the ante.”
However, a source close to the prince argued that legal discussions with the DOJ were "subject to strict confidentiality rules, as set out in their own guidelines."
“We have chosen to abide by both the letter and the spirit of these rules, which is why we have made no comment about anything related to the DOJ during the course of this year," they said. “We believe in playing a straight bat.”
While it was previously thought that the prince was only likely to be the target of action by Epstein’s victims in the US civil courts, the Sun revealed that the DOJ has filed a “mutual legal assistance” (MLA) request to the Home Office — something's only used in criminal cases under a legal treaty with the UK.
This implies that despite Andrew "categorically" denying any wrongdoing, he could be forced to appear as a witness in a UK court within a matter of months.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein's teenaged victims who is now 36, has alleged she had sex with the prince on three separate occasions between 2001 and 2002 — twice while she was a minor.