Prince Andrew’s lawyers claimed Monday that he has offered three times to help U.S. authorities investigating the Jeffrey Epstein case, and accused the U.S. Department of Justice of breaching its own “commitment to confidentiality” via “misleading media briefings” in which it has been claimed Andrew is not co-operating.
Andrew’s lawyers’ intervention came after it was revealed that federal prosecutors investigating Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring had asked British officials to turn over the prince for questioning.
According to The Sun late Sunday, the U.S. Department of Justice had “formally told the UK [that] the Duke of York is now caught up in a criminal probe for the first time.” (Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace have denied the 60-year-old royal was involved in the sex ring.)
In an unprecedented public statement issued by his legal team, Blackfords, Andrew claimed that the first time his assistance was requested was on Jan. 2, 2020. They said that the DOJ advised “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.”
The statement also said it would be “disappointing” if there had been an application for so-called “mutual legal assistance,” as reported by The Sun. MLAs are requests filed in criminal cases by foreign authorities to the British government’s Home Office. An MLA could oblige Andrew to provide witness testimony.
The existence or not of any MLA has not been confirmed.
Andrew’s lawyers said in the statement that an MLA would be inappropriate because Andrew, “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.”
Andrew’s team said today that Andrew “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.”
Andrew’s legal team criticized a public appearance by Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who held a press conference outside Epstein’s New York home in which he condemned Andrew for offering “zero co-operation.”
Andrew’s lawyers said it was “a matter of regret that the DOJ has seen fit to breach its own rules of confidentiality.”
They said that the leaks “by the DOJ have given the global media—and, therefore, the worldwide audience—an entirely misleading account of our discussions with them.”
The lawyers said they would make “no further public statement at this time as we wish to respect the rules of confidentiality under both English law and the U.S. guidelines.”
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a victim of Epstein, has long called for Andrew to face a proper investigation after claiming that the financier forced her to have sex with Andrew, who has denied this, including in a BBC interview where he suggested a photo of himself with Giuffre was doctored.