Update: U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman responds to Prince Andrew‘s legal team: “Today, Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate 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 cooperating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open, and we await word of when we should expect him.”
Prince Andrew is setting the record straight. The Duke of York’s legal team has responded to claims that Queen Elizabeth ’s son is not cooperating with the United States Department of Justice’s investigation into Jeffrey Epstein. On Monday, Blackfords LLP issued a lengthy statement in light of “misleading media briefings.” The statement on June 8 revealed that Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice ’s father has on “at least three occasions this year” offered his “assistance as a witness.” The law firm noted that while the DOJ has actively been investigating the disgraced US financier for more than 16 years, the first time they requested Andrew’s help was in January of 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 co-operation,” the statement read. “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.”
According to the law firm, the DOJ reacted to Prince Andrew’s first two offers to help by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the 60-year-old Duke has offered zero cooperation. In January and in March, Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, made public statements about Prince Charles’ younger brother. “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,” the firm said.
While press briefings have implied that Andrew is “acting above the law,” Blackfords said that the Prince 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,” Blackfords’ statement continued. “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.”
Prince Andrew stepped back from public duties last November following his bombshell interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis about his past friendship with the late convicted sex offender. “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support,” the Duke of York said at the time. “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”