Multiple powerful people were publicly scrutinized after their friendship with disgraced financier and convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein was exposed, and the United Kingdom's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, was no exception.
In addition to being chummy with numerous actors and socialites, Epstein had connections to politicians and royalty. He has been pictured with President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton, both of who have been criticized as accusations against Epstein came to light. However, the alleged details that emerged about his friendship with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York were much more damning.
Epstein, 66, was arrested in July 2019 on sex trafficking charges for allegedly sexually abusing girls for years. He allegedly used recruiters to lure teen girls, some as young as 12 or 13, back to his luxury homes where he would molest them in exchange for money. While dozens tried to testify against him in 2008, the docuseries points out that he took a sweetheart plea deal after admitting to soliciting a prostitute and of procuring an underage girl for prostitution.
He only served 13 months of his 18 month sentence and was allowed to be at his downtown office for 12 hours a day, six days a week during that sentence. When he was arrested again last year, it seemed his accusers may finally see their day in court — but that day never came. Epstein found dead in his cell last August and while his death was determined to be a suicide, but it sparked widespread conspiracy theories.
Some of his numerous accusers speak out in the new docuseries "Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” — based on James Patterson’s book “Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein” which details equally harrowing accounts from accusers — as well as former associates about what they experienced and witnessed. During the third episode of the new docuseries, viewers are taken to Little St. James, Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, referred to it as “Pedophile Island” in the episode.
Former Epstein employee Steve Scully told the producers of the docuseries that he saw Prince Andrew on the island in 2004 in a pool on the property with Giuffre.
“She was young,” Scully recalled. “They were engaged in foreplay. He was grabbing her and grinding against her.”
The former worker also said Giuffre was topless.
It isn’t the only Epstein-related accusation brought against Prince Andrew, one of the Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s sons.
Giuffre claimed last year that Epstein and his longtime confidante Ghislaine Maxwell took her to London in 2001 — when she was only 17 years old — to be allegedly sex trafficked to Prince Andrew. During that time, Giuffre says Maxwell asked Prince Andrew how old he thought Giuffre was. When he guessed her actual age, he then noted "my daughters aren't far from your age," Giuffre alleged in the new docuseries.
Giuffre has claimed that they engaged in sexual activity together at least three times. The first night they met, Giuffre claimed Andrew was profusely sweating before a photo was taken of them. She said right after the smiling photograph, she was told she had to do with Andrew what she had been doing with Epstein: be sexually abused.
The allegations surfaced publicly against the royal family member last November and Prince Andrew vehemently denied them at the time.
However, he appeared to dig himself into a bigger hole when he tried to defend himself on BBC's Newsnight last November.
"It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,” the Duke said. "I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."
However, his excuses on the show as for why the allegations weren't possible were widely criticized. He claimed he couldn't have possibly met with Giuffre during their first alleged meeting because he was with his children that day at a Pizza Express. When BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis questioned how he could remember his whereabouts on that specific day so many years later, he replied, "Going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do. I remember it weirdly distinctly."
He also contended that Giuffre's claim that he was sweaty was impossible, claiming that he was unable to sweat at all.
"There’s a slight problem with the sweating, because I have a peculiar medical condition, which is that I don’t sweat, or I didn’t sweat at the time, and that was — was it — yes, I didn’t sweat at the time," he said, claiming he was unable to sweat in 2001 due to "an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War."
When Maitlis pointed to the photograph of him and Giuffre, he said he had no recollection of it. He contended the photo could have been doctored but provided no specific evidence for that claim.
He also claimed that if the accusations against Epstein were true, he didn’t know anything about them.
"At the time there was no indication to me or anybody else that that was what he was doing," he told Maitlis. "And certainly, when I saw him in the United States ... or when I was staying in his houses in the United States, there was no indication, absolutely no indication."
Despite this, he also defended being friends with Epstein because of "the opportunities I was given to learn" about the business world.
The interview did not go over well. Publications like The Atlantic questioned if he was being honest, including about his sweating affliction, and British tabloids like the Daily Mirror ripped him apart for it. CNN noted that he received near-universal condemnation for the interview. Just days later, the Duke of York took a step back from his royal duties.
"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 organizations and charities that I am proud to support," Prince Andrew said in a statement. "Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission."
By halting royal duties, he stopped giving official appearances on behalf of the Queen or the Royal Family, Town & Country reported in November. He was not banished from the family itself and is still allowed to be seen publicly at family gatherings.
Prince Andrew also vowed in November to cooperate with any investigation into Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking ring. However, 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.
Likewise, lawyer Gloria Allred — who represents some of Epstein's accusers — told the BBC in January that she sent a letter to Prince Andrew urging him to cooperate but hadn't heard back.
"No response is the same as zero co-operation," she said. "This is ridiculous. It's just not acceptable."
In March, Berman claimed that Prince Andrew was still not cooperating with federal authorities, the Daily Beast reported at the time.
“Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation and our office is considering its options," Berman said.
Prince Andrew has continued to keep a low profile throughout 2020.
A representative at Buckingham Palace told Oxygen.com that they are not commenting on the matter. Clare Montgomery, a lawyer for Prince Andrew, also told Oxygen.com he would not be commenting on the matter.
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