Victims lawyer says Duke of York ‘must cooperate’ with US investigators over Epstein
The Duke of York “must cooperate” with US authorities investigating Jeffrey Epstein, a lawyer for some of the American sex offender’s alleged victims has said.
The demand came after Andrew – the Queen’s second son – announced he would step down from public duties for the “foreseeable future”, in an unprecedented move for a royal in modern times.
Pressure had been mounting on the duke in the wake of his weekend Newsnight interview about his relationship with Epstein.
The royal said in a statement on Wednesday evening that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.
But Lisa Bloom, as lawyer representing some of Epstein’s victims, demanded further action by the duke.
“Prince Andrew was simply not credible in his interview,” Ms Bloom tweeted.
“He and his staff must cooperate with all investigations, show up for civil depositions and trials, and produce all documents. We are just getting started.”
Ms Bloom’s mother and fellow lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents victims of the US financier, said Andrew’s position on assisting the authorities was not clear.
She told the BBC: “Is he insisting that he be served with a subpoena to testify, or is he willing to speak to law enforcement without being legally required to do so?
“My clients who are victims of Jeffrey Epstein have spoken to law enforcement without being ‘required’ to do so.”
She flagged two possible next steps.
“One is the criminal justice investigation to see if charges should be filed in reference to anyone who might have knowingly conspired with Mr Esptein to recruit and to sex traffic underage girls to him.”
The other option was the pursuit of civil lawsuits, like that which she filed on behalf of a woman known as Jane Doe 15, who alleged assault by Epstein when she was aged 15.
Firms including telecoms giant BT and bank Barclays were among a growing number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities which distanced themselves from Andrew amid the fall-out from the Newsnight interview.
It is understood there have been ongoing discussions within the royal family about the situation with Andrew talking to the Queen and the Prince of Wales.
The duke met with the Queen on Wednesday, visiting her at Buckingham Palace before his decision to step down was announced.
Andrew was criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein’s victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with the disgraced financier, who took his own life while in prison earlier this year.
In the Newsnight interview, the duke denied claims he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage.
He said the alleged encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.
Ms Giuffre said the same alleged sexual liaison began with the duke sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp.
But the duke said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.
He said he had no recollection of meeting Ms Giuffre.
When asked by the BBC’s Emily Maitlis if he regretted the “whole friendship with Epstein”, the duke replied: “Now, still not and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.”
The duke cancelled a visit to flood-ravaged communities in South Yorkshire on Tuesday.
He faced a barrage of firms and other organisations terminating or reviewing their association with his [email protected] tech entrepreneurs initiative.
Barclays said it was concerned about the situation and was keeping its involvement with [email protected] under review, while BT warned it would only continue to back the digital skills award programme, iDEA, if Andrew was dropped as patron.
Asian-focused bank Standard Chartered joined KPMG in deciding not to renew its sponsorship of [email protected]
London Metropolitan University was considering the duke’s role as its patron, while a student panel at Huddersfield University passed a motion to lobby Andrew to resign as its chancellor.
Timeline of Duke of York’s controversial relationship with Jeffrey Epstein
The Duke of York has announced he his stepping back from public duties following an interview he gave to BBC Newsnight about his relationship with former friend Jeffrey Epstein.
Here is a timeline of the duke’s relationship with Epstein.
Andrew told BBC Newsnight he first met the since-disgraced financier through “his girlfriend back in 1999”.
But in March 2011, the duke’s then-private secretary Alastair Watson, who spent nine years in the role, wrote to The Times newspaper saying Andrew met Epstein in the “early 1990s”.
Andrew later says he sees Epstein “infrequently”, adding “probably no more than only once or twice a year”.
Andrew and Ms Maxwell are seen on holiday with Epstein at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Epstein and Ms Maxwell attend a party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen to mark Andrew’s 40th birthday, the Princess Royal’s 50th, the Queen Mother’s 100th and Princess Margaret’s 70th.
Virginia Roberts claims to have had sex with Andrew “three times, including one orgy”, with the first encounter allegedly taking place in Ms Maxwell’s London townhouse.
Ms Roberts claims to have had sex with Andrew on two more occasions, at Epstein’s New York home and at an “orgy” on his private island in the Caribbean.
Epstein admits prostituting minors and is sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Epstein is released from jail. Andrew is photographed with the disgraced Epstein in New York’s Central Park.
Footage emerges years later, reportedly shot on December 6 2010, showing him inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, from where he is seen looking out from a large door of the property waving a woman goodbye after Epstein leaves to get into a chauffeur-driven car.
The duke quits his role as UK trade envoy after the fallout from the Central Park photos.
Buckingham Palace denies Andrew has committed any impropriety after he is named in US court documents related to Epstein. A woman, later named in reports as Ms Roberts, alleges in papers filed in Florida that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under the age of consent in the state.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Andrew, in his first public engagement since he was embroiled in the allegations, responds, saying: “Firstly I think I must, and want, for the record, to refer to the events that have taken place in the last few weeks.
“I just wish to reiterate, and to reaffirm, the statements that have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace.”
In April the claims against Andrew are struck from US civil court records following a federal judge’s ruling.
Newly released legal documents show that Johanna Sjoberg, another alleged Epstein victim, claimed Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside the US billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.
Buckingham Palace said the allegations are “categorically untrue”.
Epstein is found dead in his jail cell on August 10, having killed himself after being charged with sex trafficking.
Later that month a pilot on Epstein’s private jet claims Andrew was a passenger on past flights with the financier and Ms Roberts.
The Sun newspaper reported that David Rodgers said in a testimony released in August that Epstein, Andrew and the-then 17-year-old travelled to the US Virgin Islands on April 11 2001.
Buckingham Palace describes the evidence statement as having “a number of inconsistencies” and said that Andrew was on a different continent in some cases.
Following Epstein’s death, a statement from the palace says that Andrew is “appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes”.
Breaking his silence on the issue for the first time since 2015, Andrew then releases a statement on August 24 saying: “At no stage during the limited time I spent with him (Epstein) did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.”
In November, BBC Newsnight reveals the duke has spoken about his relationship with Epstein in a “no holds barred” interview.
Presenter Emily Maitlis wrote on Twitter that it was a “no questions vetted” exchange.
In the interview the duke said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting Ms Roberts and added he could not have had sex with her in March 2001 because he was at Pizza Express with daughter Beatrice on the day in question.
He added he “did not regret” his friendship with the sex offender but admitted he should not have gone to see him in New York in 2010 to break off their friendship.
A letter from the duke’s then-private secretary Alastair Watson to The Times in 2011 resurfaces suggesting Andrew met Epstein “in the early 1990s” rather than 1999 as he has previously stated.
Four days after the interview, the Duke of York released a statement confirming he was “stepping back from public duties for the foreseeable future” with permission from The Queen.
Andrew also said he “deeply sympathised” with all of Epstein’s victims and added he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.
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