The lawyer for dozens of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims has claimed Prince Andrew is “deliberately evading authorities” who have invited him to provide a statement about abuse by the financier.
Brad Edwards represents 55 women who claim they were abused by the convicted paedophilewho killed himself in jail last year, and he believes the royal has information that will help them.
In an interview with Sky News’ Cordelia Lynch, Mr Edwards said he had personally invited Prince Andrew “at least three times” to share what he knows, but that he “flat out refuses”.
On Thursday, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell appeared in court on charges of luring underage girls so they could be sexually abused by Epstein.
Maxwell is accused of playing a “critical role” in helping her ex-boyfriend identify and groom his victims.
The Duke of York has been locked in a long-running battle with law enforcement in the US over his availability to answer questions about his former friend.
Andrew has even been accused of attempting to “falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to co-operate”, and was said to have “completely shut the door on voluntary co-operation” by Geoffrey Berman, a US prosecutor leading the investigation into Epstein until last month.
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A source close to the duke’s legal working group told Sky News: “The Duke of York has offered his assistance to the Department of Justice investigation on a number of occasions this year.
“In addition, the working group have proactively contacted the DoJ twice in the last month and have received no response. That is why we remain utterly bewildered by the DoJ’s approach. However, a request from a commercial law firm is not and never will be the same as an official judicial process.”
And in an interview with LBC on Friday morning, Boris Johnson said no official approach has been made by the US authorities to speak to Prince Andrew about his links to Epstein.
Mr Edwards told Sky News his clients are angry at the claims that the duke has been co-operative with prosecutors and that he is “bewildered” by reports he hasn’t been.
“His bewilderment is subsidiary to my bewilderment – because he’s been personally invited to provide all the information he knows for more than a decade.
“I know personally, for over a decade we have been asking him to come and provide all of the information that he has. I think I’ve personally invited at least three times to tell us what he knows and he just flat out refuses.”
The lawyer added: “There’s clients who are familiar with the fact that he was around and, you know, they’re familiar with the evidence. They know that he was on the flight logs. They know that he was in Ghislaine’s apartment with Virginia Roberts.
“They know that there are hard questions that he should be answering, especially if there’s any bit of a defence for his own actions then. These are things that he should be, you know, kind of owning up to. The fact that he is not is very frustrating to the victims.
“There’s no doubt that he’s deliberately evading authorities. I mean, how much more clear – when have you ever heard a US attorney’s office at a press conference say: we’re inviting you to come over. And he’s still – he’s not on a plane right now coming over. You know, there’s no doubt that they want to talk to him.”
Andrew’s public life was left in tatters after his disastrous Newsnight interview about his friendship with Epstein, which saw him accused of showing little empathy for the financier’s victims.
In the programme’s aftermath, the duke stepped back from royal duties but became the focus of US authorities who wanted to question him about the financier, who killed himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.
Mr Edwards said his clients were “extremely relieved” that Maxwell has been charged and that they are all willing to testify in court.