Prince Andrew should contact US investigators

Gloria Allred and the Duke of YorkImage copyright
Reuters/ BBC

The Duke of York should put himself forward to be interviewed by US investigators, a lawyer representing some of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims says.

Gloria Allred questioned Prince Andrew’s pledge that he would assist with probes into the convicted sex offender “if required”.

She urged him to contact US authorities “without conditions and without delay”.

Her comments came hours after the duke announced he was stepping down from royal duties over the scandal.

In a statement announcing his decision, Prince Andrew said the ordeal had become a “major disruption” to the Royal Family and that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

Ms Allred said that while she was “glad” he is willing to co-operate, the meaning of his statement was not clear.

“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?” she asked.

“My clients who are victims of Jeffrey Epstein have spoken to law enforcement without being ‘required’ to do so.”

Ms Allred’s comments come as:

  • Another US lawyer for several Epstein accusers, Lisa Bloom, said she would be prepared to serve legal papers on the prince in the UK, compelling him to give sworn testimony
  • Questions have been raised over the prince’s finances as it is understood the money he receives from the public purse – known as the Sovereign Grant – for travel and expenses for official engagements, will now end
  • A palace source told the BBC the prince would continue to be involved with his entrepreneur event, Pitch@Palace

Ms Allred has represented the female accusers of US celebrities such as US President Donald Trump, film producer Harvey Weinstein, comedian Bill Cosby and singer R Kelly.

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Asked on BBC Newsnight what the next steps would be if Prince Andrew did not volunteer to be interviewed, Ms Allred said there were two “tracks”.

“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,” she said.

The other, she said, concerns civil lawsuits, such as one she filed this week for her client Jane Doe 15, who claims Epstein sexually abused her when she was 15.

Jane Doe 15 has not accused the duke of any wrongdoing but has called on him to come forward with more information.

Ms Allred said: “I haven’t made a determination yet as to… whether we will need to take Prince Andrew’s deposition. But I’m saying he should provide it in any civil case as well, where his testimony might be relevant.”

She added that other civil lawsuits were due to be filed.

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  • Entrepreneurs who back Prince Andrew’s Pitch@Palace
  • Six things we learned from the duke’s interview

Ms Allred’s daughter and fellow lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents five other Epstein accusers, said she would be prepared to serve a subpoena compelling Prince Andrew to give sworn testimony.

Ms Bloom told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the document would have to be served to the prince in person and that it was possible for this to happen in the UK.

“It is possible and happens frequently,” she said.

Image copyright
News Syndication

Image caption

The prince said he regretted this 2010 meeting with Epstein

Ms Allred said the duke’s Newsnight interview was “upsetting” for some of her clients because he “did not show very much feeling” for them, she said.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Prince Andrew, 59, said he deeply sympathised with Epstein’s victims and everyone who “wants some form of closure”.

The prince has faced a growing backlash following a BBC interview about his friendship with the US financier, who took his own life in August while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Media captionPrince Andrew: Epstein ‘a constant sore in the family’

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince three times. The duke has always denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.

The announcement that he would be stepping down from public duties, described by Buckingham Palace as “a personal decision”, was taken following discussions with the Queen and Prince Charles.

It is understood the decision will not affect Prince Andrew’s attendance at Royal Family engagements, such as the Trooping of the Colour, Remembrance Sunday or Christmas at the family’s estate in Sandringham, Norfolk.

This is without precedent in modern times. Prince Andrew’s public life is over for now. The statement says the withdrawal is “for the foreseeable future”. But it’s hard to see what will bring him back.

The interview is almost universally seen as a mistake. It was a disaster. But it may have seemed a good idea at the time.

BBC Panorama has been digging into Virginia Giuffre’s allegations and is going to air soon. That will have added to the pressure, alongside legal efforts in New York to have more Epstein-related papers released.

There’s talk of a lack of grip at the Palace, but Buckingham Palace is not like a company or a government department, with reporting lines and a chain of command. For centuries princes have gone their own way.

There are lots of questions – about money, titles, military commands, patronages, about how this might speed reform, and of course about whether Prince Andrew still has a part to play in helping with investigations into Epstein, and helping Epstein’s victims find answers.

But right now the humiliation is complete. Born into the public eye, Prince Andrew has had to retreat into a private life.

And the monarchy is shaken.

Prince Andrew the Epstein Scandal: The Newsnight Interview was shown on BBC Two on 16 November 2019 and can be seen on BBC iPlayer in the UK. The full interview can also be seen on YouTube.