Prince Andrew's lawyers accuse U.S. of misleading public over Epstein case

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Lawyer's for Britain's Prince Andrew are claiming that he has tried to assist United States authorities in their probe into the late Jeffrey Epstein, but that they rejected his multiple offers of assistance and opted for "publicity" instead.

Though Epstein died in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal charges that he sexually abused underage girls and ran a sex-trafficking ring, prosecutors have continued to pursue investigations of people who they believe helped Epstein carry out an alleged multi-year sex trafficking operation.

The Duke of York's legal team has hit back at allegations that he provided "zero co-operation" to USA authorities investigating convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, instead claiming he has made three offers of help.

Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of NY, points to a photograph of Jeffrey Epstein as he announces the financier's charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, in NY, U.S., July 8, 2019.

The lawyers said the DOJ had only requested Andrew's help on January 2 this year and had stated that he had never been a target of their investigation and they merely wanted his cooperation.

Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell

Prince Andrew has been accused by Virginia Giuffre, who says she was trafficked by Epstein when she was a teenager, of having sex with her three times.

The duke's attempts to distance himself from Epstein's lifestyle took a weird turn last November after a vehicle crash BBC interview, during which he claimed to remember "weirdly distinctly" that he took his daughter to a Pizza Express restaurant on one of the days Giuffre claims he had sex with her.

It's the first time the Duke of York has defended his actions since the widely criticised television interview past year. However the idea that Prince Andrew could effectively be swapped for Sacoolas has been mentioned on several occasions by legal teams.

Andrew stepped down from public royal duties late a year ago after an interview about his association with Epstein with the BBC went poorly.

The statement said: "It is a matter of regret that the DOJ has seen fit to breach its own rules of confidentiality, not least as they are created to encourage witness co-operation".

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In a statement Monday, Prince Andrew's legal team said that "any pursuit of an application for mutual legal assistance would be disappointing".

"I can tell you categorically I don't remember meeting her at all".

The firm issued the unusual statement after reports in Britain's Sun newspaper and on NBC that USA officials formally requested that Andrew answer questions on the matter.

Repeated claims that he refused to help were "inaccurate, and they should not have been made", the legal team said.

Earlier on Monday, the DoJ formally requested to speak to Prince Andrew as part of its Epstein inquiry.

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Prosecutors accused the politically-connected financier of preying on dozens of underage girls in NY and Florida in the early 2000s.

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