LONDON – US prosecutors and lawyers for British Prince Andrew shot each other across the Atlantic on Monday, each saying the other party was to blame for the Duke’s failure to participate in the sex trafficking investigation. Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew’s lawyers said in a statement that he had offered to speak to American investigators three times this year after being assured that he “was not and never had been a” target “of their investigations criminals on Epstein. “
The offer, however, was accompanied by a request that “our cooperation and any interview agreements be kept confidential,” said Blackfords LLP in London.
“Unfortunately, the DOJ reacted to the first two offers by violating its own rules of confidentiality and by affirming that the duke did not offer any cooperation. In doing so, they may be looking for publicity rather than accepting the help offered, “said the lawyers.
A few hours later, the American lawyer in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, published a statement saying that the prince had tried to “falsely present himself to the public as willing and willing to cooperate”, even though he refused to several occasions to schedule an interview.
“If Prince Andrew is genuinely interested in cooperating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open and we are waiting for the date on which we should wait,” said Berman.
Berman’s statement only concerned Prince Andrew’s wish to be interviewed. He made no mention of his lawyers’ allegations that the Justice Department had informed them that Andrew was not the target of the investigation or that they had promised that everything he said to investigators would be confidential.
Before Monday, Berman had said that Andrew had provided “no cooperation” to American investigators.
Attorney General William Barr told Fox News on Monday that prosecutors are not seeking to extradite Andrew.
“I don’t think it’s about putting it back,” said Barr. “I think it’s just a matter of having him provide evidence, but beyond that, I’m not going to comment.”
Epstein committed suicide in an American prison last summer while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of the women who was sexually abused by Epstein as a teenager, claimed that the financier had transported her around the world on private planes to have sex with powerful men, and that ‘she had had sexual encounters with Andrew in London and New York, from the age of 17.
Andrew denies the allegation.
The mixed views on what goes on behind the scenes came after the newspaper The Sun and other media reported that the United States Department of Justice had submitted a request for mutual legal assistance to the British Home Office. These requests are used in criminal cases under a treaty and are generally used when documents cannot be obtained on the basis of police cooperation.
U.S. investigators are still investigating the potential crime of Epstein’s associates. Several women said the financier had aides who recruited underage girls into a network of sex workers.
Andrew’s help is sought as a witness, his lawyers said.
“Far from our client acting above the law, as suggested by press reports in the United States, he is treated at a lower level than what could reasonably be expected of another citizen” said Blackfords. “In addition, these same breaches of confidentiality by DOJ have given the global media – and, therefore, the global public – a completely misleading account of our discussions with them.”
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