The Department of Justice office in New York has formally requested to speak to Prince Andrew, an anonymous source told NBC News and CNN, who both reported the news Monday. The request for testimony was made under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which is similar to a subpoena, NBC reports.
While Epstein — who has been accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage womens for years — was found dead in his cell last August, the investigation into his alleged crimes continues. Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s many accusers, claimed last year that the disgraced financier sex trafficked her to Prince Andrew when she was just 17. She said Epstein and his longtime confidante Ghislaine Maxwell took her to London in 2001 where she was ordered to engage in sexual activity with the Duke of York. She claimed it was the first of three incidents of sex trafficking involving Prince Andrew.
In Netflix’s new docuseries “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,”a former Epstein employee claimed he also witnessed Prince Andrew on Epstein’s private island in 2004 fondling Giuffre.
Prince Andrew’s relationship with Epstein surfaced publicly last November, following Epstein's July 2019 arrest on sex trafficking charges. He tried to defend himself on BBC's Newsnight that same month, claiming he never recalled meeting Guiffre. His excuses and explanations did not go over well, and just days later he took a step back from his royal duties.
Even though he vowed at the time to cooperate with any investigation into Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking ring, that reportedly hasn't happened. By January, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman contended that Prince Andrew wasn't keeping his promise. Berman said that both prosecutors and the FBI have received no reply after trying to contact the Duke's lawyers about the investigation, the BBC reported at the time. By March, Berman claimed, “Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation and our office is considering its options," the Daily Beast reported at the time.
Andrew’s law team Blackfords LLP put out a statement on Monday which argued that Andrew "has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ [Department of Justice.]"
It also claimed that “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 cooperation.”
They added that “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.”
The Department of Justice office in New York has not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
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