Duke and US prosecutor in row over Epstein inquiry

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EPA

The Duke of York has “sought to falsely painting himself” as desperate to co-operate with an inquiry into intercourse offender Jeffrey Epstein, the US prosecutor in command of the investigation has mentioned.

US lawyer Geoffrey Berman mentioned Prince Andrew “has repeatedly declined our request” to schedule an interview.

The prince’s legal professionals beforehand rejected claims he had not co-operated, saying he provided to assist thrice.

The duke won’t be extradited, the US authorities’s chief lawyer has mentioned.

US Attorney General William Barr informed Fox News: “I do not assume it is a query of handing him over. I feel it is only a query of getting him present some proof.”

Prince Andrew stepped away from royal duties final yr after an interview he gave to the BBC about his relationship with Epstein.

Epstein took his own life in a US jail cell in August, aged 66, whereas awaiting trial on intercourse trafficking and conspiracy expenses.

The duke has been closely scrutinised for his friendship with Epstein, however he has mentioned he didn’t witness any suspicious behaviour throughout visits to the US financier’s properties.

Mr Berman, the US lawyer for the Southern District of New York, has criticised the duke up to now. In January he accused him of offering “zero co-operation” and in March he mentioned Andrew had “utterly shut the door” on serving to investigators.

On Monday, Prince Andrew’s legal professionals responded for the primary time and hit again on the claims as “inaccurate”.

Mr Berman then issued an announcement, deepening the row. He mentioned: “Today, Prince Andrew but once more sought to falsely painting himself to the general public as keen and prepared to co-operate with an ongoing federal felony investigation into intercourse trafficking and associated offences dedicated by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates.”

He mentioned the duke “has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview, and almost 4 months in the past knowledgeable us unequivocally – by the exact same counsel who issued at the moment’s launch – that he wouldn’t are available for such an interview”.

“If Prince Andrew is, actually, severe about co-operating with the continued federal investigation, our doorways stay open, and we await phrase of once we ought to count on him.”

Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents a few of Epstein’s victims, has informed the BBC’s Newsnight she was not conscious of any makes an attempt from the duke to help the investigation.

She mentioned Prince Andrew “must cease enjoying a cat-and-mouse sport with the United States Department of Justice” and insisted “it is time for him to face earlier than the bar of justice”.

“What he’s doing by dragging this out is absolutely inflicting fairly a little bit of emotional hurt on many victims, it isn’t honest,” she mentioned.

“All they need is fact, they usually need transparency.”

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Mark Harrington/BBC

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In the BBC interview final yr, the duke mentioned he didn’t remorse his friendship with Epstein

The duke’s legal professionals declined to remark additional. But a supply mentioned: “This is the third time Berman has breached his personal confidentiality guidelines, additional diminishing our belief within the DoJ’s willingness to play a straight bat. It’s frankly bewildering.”

Earlier, the authorized workforce mentioned: “As the general public document signifies the DoJ has been actively investigating Mr Epstein and different targets for greater than 16 years, but the primary time they requested the duke’s assist was on 2 January 2020.

“Importantly, the DoJ suggested us that the duke will not be and has by no means been a ‘goal’ of their felony investigations into Epstein and that they sought his confidential, voluntary co-operation.”

‘Misleading account’

The duke’s legal professionals mentioned they’d requested US prosecutors to verify the co-operation would stay confidential, including: “We got an unequivocal assurance that our discussions and the interview course of would stay confidential.”

They added: “The Duke of York has on at the very least three events this yr provided his help as a witness to the DoJ.

“Unfortunately, the DoJ has reacted to the primary two gives by breaching their very own confidentiality guidelines and claiming that the duke has provided zero co-operation. In doing so, they’re maybe in search of publicity moderately than accepting the help proffered.”

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Media captionThe Duke of York mentioned he would testify beneath oath

The authorized workforce added: “It is a matter of remorse that the DoJ has seen match to breach its personal guidelines of confidentiality, not least as they’re designed to encourage witness co-operation.

“Far from our consumer performing above the regulation, as has been implied by press briefings within the US, he’s being handled by a decrease commonplace than may fairly be anticipated for every other citizen. Further, those self same breaches of confidentiality by the DoJ have given the worldwide media – and, due to this fact, the worldwide viewers – a completely deceptive account of our discussions with them.”

The DoJ has made a formal request to speak to the prince as a part of its Epstein inquiry, by submitting a mutual authorized help (MLA) request to the UK Home Office.

Under the phrases of a MLA request if Prince Andrew doesn’t voluntarily reply, he will be referred to as to a UK court docket to reply questions.

The duke’s legal professionals described the request as “disappointing” as a result of the Duke of York was “not a goal of the DoJ investigation and has not too long ago repeated his willingness to offer a witness assertion”.

The expenses in opposition to Jeffrey Epstein

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News Syndication

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Prince Andrew with Jeffrey Epstein in New York’s Central Park in 2010

Allegations in opposition to Jeffrey Epstein began surfacing in 2005 when the dad and mom of a 14-year-old woman informed police in Florida that Epstein had molested their daughter at his Palm Beach house.

The financier was accused of paying ladies beneath the age of 18 to carry out intercourse acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.

However, a controversial secret plea deal in 2008 noticed him plead responsible to a lesser cost of soliciting a minor for prostitution.

He obtained an 18-month jail sentence and was launched on probation after 13 months.

In July 2019 he was charged in New York with additional allegations of intercourse trafficking and conspiracy and was as a result of face trial. He pleaded not responsible to all the fees.

In his interview with the BBC’s Newsnight programme in November 2019, the duke mentioned he didn’t remorse his friendship with Epstein – which led to Epstein attending occasions at Windsor Castle and Sandringham – as a result of it had “some significantly useful outcomes”.

However, he admitted it was flawed of him to go to Epstein at his house in 2010, after his conviction.

He additionally denied having intercourse with Virginia Giuffre, when she was a youngster, who mentioned she was trafficked by Epstein when she was 17 and compelled to have intercourse with Prince Andrew.

Prince Andrew emphatically denies any type of sexual contact or relationship along with her and says any declare on the contrary is fake and with out basis.

He mentioned he has no recollection of ever assembly the girl, who was beforehand generally known as Virginia Roberts.

Shortly after the interview was broadcast, Prince Andrew mentioned he was “prepared to assist any acceptable regulation enforcement company”.

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