Federal prosecutors in New York along with the FBI have asked to interview Prince Andrew as part of their ongoing criminal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman for the Southern District of New York said Monday.
“The Southern District of New York and the FBI have contacted Prince Andrew’s attorneys and requested to interview Prince Andrew, and to date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,” Berman said while standing on the front doorstep of Epstein’s former East 71st Street mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where you can still see where the initials “J.E.” were pasted on the inner wall.
“He publicly offered, indeed in a press release, to cooperate with law enforcement investigating the crimes committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his co-conspirators,” Berman said.
Berman declined to elaborate on what prosecutors would like to know from Prince Andrew, although he said Epstein could not have committed the crimes he did without help from co-conspirators.
Federal prosecutors do not ordinarily disclose who is being sought as part of a criminal investigation, but Berman said the public had a right to know in this instance because Prince Andrew publicly indicated his willingness to cooperate.
In a November statement, the Duke of York said, “I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations.”
The queen’s second son has long been associated with Epstein, the convicted sex offender who died in prison early last year. But Prince Andrew has downplayed his relationship with Epstein in the past.
The Duke of York acknowledged in November during an interview with the BBC that he “let the side down, simple as that” when he stayed at Epstein’s New York mansion after he’d been convicted of sex crimes.
“I kick myself for it on a daily basis ’cause it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the, um, highest standards and practices,” Prince Andrew said.
Epstein had been subject to state and federal investigations since the mid-2000s for allegedly recruiting underage girls for illicit massages and sex. He ultimately served 13 months of an 18-month term in a Florida county jail for two minor charges after avoiding federal charges involving allegations of abuse by nearly three dozen girls.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleged in court filings in December 2014 that she’d been directed by Epstein and his longtime companion, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, to have sex with Prince Andrew on two occasions when she was 17, and on a third occasion when she’d just turned 18.
Prince Andrew maintained in the BBC interview that “nothing” happened between him and Giuffre but said he would be “duty-bound” to testify regarding the allegations under oath if he were asked.
“Well I’m like everybody else and I will have to take all the legal advice that there was before I was to do that sort of thing,” he said. “But if push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty-bound to do so.”
Attorneys for Giuffre have been seeking interviews and testimony with Prince Andrew in connection with civil litigation surrounding the Epstein case since 2015.
They first sent a letter seeking testimony to the palace and representatives for the prince in early 2015 — following his public denials of the allegations raised by Giuffre — and again in September 2019 after reports began to surface that he, through unnamed sources, was disputing the authenticity of the photo of him with Giuffre from 2001.
Prince Andrew later appeared to question the authenticity of the photo in the BBC interview.
After the ill-fated interview aired, the Duke of York was forced to step back from royal duties, saying in a statement that his ties to Epstein had become a “major disruption” to the royal family’s charitable work.
ABC News’ Julia Jacobo and James Hill contributed to this report.