Prince Andrew’s lack of co-operation with US authorities is a “slap in the face” to Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, according to a lawyer who represents five of the businessman’s accusers.
Lisa Bloom, who represents women who say they were abused by Epstein, told Sky News that Prince Andrew should show leadership and answer questions as the investigation continues.
According to Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman, Prince Andrew is providing “zero cooperation” with a sex-trafficking investigation linked to Epstein, a deceased financier who was a convicted sex offender.
“You would think Prince Andrew would want to do the right thing.”@LisaBloom represents 5 of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, and says the US attorney has put public pressure on Prince Andrew to cooperate with his investigation, but he’s got no subpoena power currently. JM#KayBurleypic.twitter.com/GTyL1gwXRD
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) January 28, 2020
Mr Berman said his team and the FBI had contacted Andrew’s lawyers and asked to interview him but the lawyers had been uncooperative.
During a BBC Newsnight interview last year Prince Andrew suggested he would willingly co-operate with an investigation.
Referencing Andrew’s appearance on BBC Newsnight, Ms Bloom said: “[He] did an interview where he showed zero compassion for the victims.
“After the backlash he said he did have compassion and so he said he would co-operate.
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“This is a slap in the face to the victims. Why doesn’t he want to co-operate? What is he trying to hide? What is he afraid of?”
Both Andrew and Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, have denied any knowledge that Epstein was sexually abusing teenage girls.
Ms Bloom said there was currently no power to summon the prince to give evidence, because the case is at an investigation stage.
She added: “You would think he would want to do the right thing, step forward and show some leadership, get to the bottom of what happened not just with him but with Ghislaine Maxwell who he spent a lot of time with.”
Asked about whether it could end up being a diplomatic issue between the US and the UK, she said: “I hope not, I think our countries co-operate very well when it comes to the legal system.”
But she urged Andrew to “do what any other citizen of the UK or the US should do – which is talk to law enforcement, give them the information that you have so we can catch people who are either predators or enablers of predators.
“He has daughters, his own daughters could have been victims.”
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Ms Bloom also claimed she represents a sixth woman who says she was a witness at the Tramp nightclub the night alleged victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre was there.
Ms Giuffre claims she was with the prince, but he says he was at Pizza Express in Woking that evening, at a birthday party with his daughters. He has said he has no recollection of ever meeting Ms Roberts Giuffre.
Ms Bloom does not represent anyone who is directly accusing the prince of criminal behaviour, and so she will not be able to issue a subpoena.
But asked whether she thought he would have to answer questions, she said: “I don’t know whether it will be in the US or by attorneys going to the UK but he is going to have to answer questions.”
Gloria Allred, who represents other Epstein accusers, told the BBC: “We could, also, in our civil law suit, seek to subpoena Prince Andrew.
“Certainly, if he ever came back to the United States – that would be one of the first things that I’m sure a lot of lawyers, including me, would want to do.”
Buckingham Palace was not commenting on the matter, but a source said: “This issue is being dealt with by the Duke of York’s legal team.”
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Legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg told Sky News it is not inevitable that the prince will have to face questions, and he may “tough it out”.
He said: “The fact the attorney is putting public pressure on indicates he has limited powers.
“[Andrew] could sit tight and say nothing or he can issue a statement in which he can repeat he has no information.
“If Ghislaine Maxwell is prosecuted he might want to give evidence in her defence, in which case he might come forward but he might be advised there’s nothing he can say that will help her.
“He can tough it out unless the political pressure becomes too much because of his reputation and the reputation of the Royal Family.”
Mr Rozenberg added that he thought Prince Andrew might be torn between his lawyers, who are likely advising him to keep quiet, and his mother, who may suggest a statement would be best.
Last year, the prince announced he was withdrawing from royal duties amid renewed attention of his friendship with Epstein, who was a convicted paedophile, after his disastrous interviewabout the friendship.
He has mostly stepped back from public life, staying home instead of attending the 11am Christmas Day service at Sandringham, but was at church with the Queen in mid-January.
Sky News has contacted Prince Andrew’s lawyers for comment.