June 9 (UPI) — Britain’s Prince Andrew says U.S. prosecutors are trying to falsely portray him as an uncooperative witness in their investigation of disgraced billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in prison last year while facing charges of sex trafficking.
The prince’s attorneys responded Monday to reports that U.S. prosecutors are seeking a de facto subpoena to question Andrew as part of its investigation of the Epstein case — a rare legal move typically made to force cooperation from an unwilling witness.
Prince Andrew’s attorneys, however, said the prince, also known as the Duke of York, has offered multiple times to provide information to U.S. prosecutors — and have been declined each time.
“The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ,” the attorneys said in a statement. “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.
“In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.”
The attorneys said the Justice Department also broke its promise to keep any word of cooperation confidential.
“We asked the DOJ to confirm that our co-operation and any interview arrangements would remain confidential, in accordance with the ordinary rules that apply to voluntary co-operation with the DOJ. We were given an unequivocal assurance that our discussions and the interview process would remain confidential.”
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman answered by saying Prince Andrew’s legal team is trying to “falsely portray” the Duke of York as a willing participant.
Epstein killed himself in a New York jail last August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Prosecutors accused him of preying on dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.
A longtime associate of Epstein’s, Prince Andrew has long denied any wrongdoing.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” he has said. “Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”