Jan 28, 2020
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Jeffrey Epstein accusers outraged by Prince Andrew

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US lawyer Lisa Bloom says Prince Andrew should “do the right thing”

A lawyer representing women who say they were abused by Jeffrey Epstein has urged Prince Andrew to co-operate with an investigation into the financier.

Lisa Bloom said the alleged victims were “outraged” by the Duke of York not assisting the US authorities.

It comes after the prosecutor in charge of the US investigation said the duke had provided “zero co-operation”.

The prince has said he did not witness or suspect any suspicious behaviour during visits to Epstein’s homes.

He told the BBC last November that he was willing to help the authorities into the investigation of Epstein, a convicted sex offender who took his own life in a jail cell in August, aged 66, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

However, US attorney Geoffrey Berman said prosecutors and the FBI have received no reply after contacting the duke’s lawyers.

Ms Bloom, a US lawyer who represents five of Epstein’s accusers, said the duke should “do the right thing”.

She told BBC Newsnight: “I’m glad that Geoffrey Berman has gone public to try to embarrass Prince Andrew, who made one statement and then behind closed doors is doing something very different.

“The five Epstein victims who I represent are outraged and disappointed at Prince Andrew’s behaviour here.”

Buckingham Palace said the prince’s legal team was dealing with the issue and it would not be commenting further.

Ms Bloom added: “If Prince Andrew truly has done nothing wrong then it’s incumbent upon him to go and speak to the FBI at a time that’s convenient for him and say what he knows.

“Perhaps he can help bring other people to justice.”

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Media captionGeoffrey Berman speaking in New York

Another US lawyer representing some of Epstein’s accusers, Gloria Allred, said she had sent a letter to Prince Andrew’s home urging him to co-operate but hadn’t received a response.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “No response is the same as zero co-operation. This is ridiculous. It’s just not acceptable.”

She added: “Prince Andrew has a moral obligation to volunteer to speak to law enforcement – that’s what he said he would do.”

The duke has come under fire for his friendship with the US financier, who was jailed in Florida in 2008 for procuring a minor for prostitution.

He told BBC Newsnight in November that he first met Epstein in 1999 and did not regret their friendship – which led to Epstein attending events at Windsor Castle and Sandringham – because it had “some seriously beneficial outcomes”.

However he admitted it was wrong of him to visit Epstein at his home in 2010, after his conviction.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, says she was trafficked to London by Epstein in 2001, when she was 17, and forced to have sex with Prince Andrew.

Prince Andrew emphatically denies any form of sexual contact or relationship with her and says any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.

He said he has no recollection of ever meeting the woman, who was previously known as Virginia Roberts.

Prince Andrew was accused of lacking empathy for Epstein’s victims in his Newsnight interview and failing to show regret over their friendship.

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Media captionPrince Andrew says he would testify under oath

Shortly after it was broadcast, the prince announced he was stepping back from royal duties for the “foreseeable future” because the Epstein scandal had become a “major disruption” to the Royal Family.

At the time, he said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency”.

He also said in the BBC interview he would consider giving evidence under oath “if push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so”.

Prince Andrew accompanied the Queen to church near Sandringham earlier this month.

It was the first time the prince had been seen with his mother since the week after his Newsnight interview.

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