Prince Andrew asked by US to testify in Jeffrey Epstein sex case

Prince Andrew asked by US to testify in Jeffrey Epstein sex case
Prince Andrew has previously said he did not witness any suspicious behaviour during visits to Epstein's homes. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: The US authorities have requested the Duke of York to testify about his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Britain’s The Sun first reported that the US Department of Justice had made a formal request to speak to Prince Andrew as part of its Epstein inquiry. The newspaper reported the Department of Justice has been in contact with Andrew’s lawyers for many months.

Prince Andrew has been heavily criticised for his friendship with the US financier, but he previously said that he did not witness any suspicious behavior during visits to Epstein’s homes.

The Duke stepped away from royal duties last year following a widely-criticised BBC interview about his relationship with Epstein.

Mr Epstain took his own life in a US jail cell in August, aged 66, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

The US authorities had submitted mutual legal assistance (MLA) request to the UK’s Home Office – although this has not been confirmed by the US Department of Justice or the UK Home Office.

If Prince Andrew does not voluntarily respond, he can be called to a UK court to answer questions, according to the terms of a MLA request.

The duke’s legal team was bitterly unhappy about the leaking of the request, with a source describing it as “an extraordinary breach of confidentiality”.

A full statement is expected later with details about the Duke’s cooperation with the legal authorities of the US.

MLA requests by other states are used to obtain assistance in an investigation or prosecution of criminal offences, generally when cooperation cannot be obtained by law enforcement agencies.

It is “usual policy” that the existence of a request is neither confirmed or denied, according to Home Office guidance.

In his November 2019 interview with the BBC, the duke said he did not regret his friendship with Epstein, despite the financier having been convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution in 2008.

Prince Andrew also denied having sex with Virginia Giuffre, when she was a teenager, who said she was trafficked by Epstein when she was 17.

He was criticised in January by the US prosecutor in charge of the investigation into Epstein – Geoffrey Berman – who said the prince had provided “zero co-operation” to the investigators.

The 60-year-old royal has so far refused to be quizzed by New York prosecutors investigating Epstein’s evil historic sex trafficking network but strongly denies any wrongdoing.