U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are invoking a treaty with the United Kingdom to compel cooperation from Prince Andrew, according to the Washington Examiner.
An associate of disgraced finance mogul Jeffery Epstein, Andrew has been accused by Virginia Guiffre of sexually abusing her when she was a teen.
“I hope he comes clean”
Epstein was arrested last year on multiple federal sex-trafficking charges, according to NBC News, and died while in custody under circumstances some have described as suspicious, CNBC noted. Prince Andrew has denied the allegations against him but acknowledged it was a mistake to stay at Epstein’s home after the latter had been accused of sex crimes.
“He knows exactly what he’s done,” Guiffre said of the British royal from the steps of a New York City courthouse last year. “And I hope he comes clean about it.
The prince’s legal team responded to the U.S. request with a statement on Monday that criticized the Justice Department.
“The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ,” the lawyers wrote, according to a California ABC affiliate. “Unfortunately, the DOJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the Duke has offered zero cooperation.”
The statement went on to suggest that federal investigators are “perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.”
“I kick myself for it”
Arguing that “the Duke of York is not a target” of the Justice Department, the attorneys wrote that it would be “disappointing” for the U.S. agency to pursue its path toward compelling an interview. Barr has previously warned anyone involved in Epstein’s crimes “should not rest easy” as the investigation continues.
“It is hoped that this third offer has not been the cause of the most recent leak about the Duke of York,” the lawyers’ statement concluded.
While he has maintained his innocence, Prince Andrew did express regret for his actions related to the sex trafficker.
“I kick myself for it on almost a daily basis,” he said of spending time at Epstein’s home, which he attempted to dismiss as simply a “convenient place to stay.”
Prince Andrew announced following that interview that he would be stepping down from his public duties as part of the U.K. royal family. He said at the time that the controversy had “become a major disruption” to the family — but it is clear that the disruption is far from over.