US authorities have made a formal request for Prince Andrew to be questioned about his relationship with deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, according to reports.
It emerged on Sunday that the The Southern District Court of New York had asked Prince Andrew to testify in the ongoing criminal investigation into Epstein’s alleged accomplices via a Mutual Legal Assistance request filed with the UK Home Office. These requests are only used in criminal cases under a legal treaty with the UK.
The request was formally lodged last month.
The DOJ’s request for ‘mutual legal assistance’ from the Home Office effectively bypasses a request to Buckingham Palace and means that Andrew could be forced to appear in a British court as a witness within months.
RT reports: Prince Andrew could be forced to provide testimony under oath in a UK court if the Home Office approves the US court’s request. Should he refuse to either give a signed statement or provide evidence under oath, US prosecutors could issue a summons that would compel him to answer questions in person. The royal has categorically denied any wrongdoing in relation to his friendship with the jet-setting sex offender, who supposedly committed suicide in prison last year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
As recently as January, head prosecutor for the Epstein case Geoffrey Berman had expressed frustration with the Prince’s failure to assist in the ongoing probe of Epstein’s criminal associates, noting: “Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation.” The royal had pledged during a BBC Newsnight interview in November that he would help with the US investigation if his “legal advice was to do so.” Shortly after that TV appearance, branded disastrous and “cringe-worthy” by many, he was demoted within the royal family, stepping back from public life.
While Prince Andrew has denied witnessing anything illegal while palling around with Epstein, accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre has claimed they had sex three times when she was 17. A photo of Giuffre with the Prince has been widely circulated. Andrew claims to have met Epstein in 1999, having been introduced by socialite and alleged Epstein madam Ghislaine Maxwell – who is still at large despite supposedly being wanted for questioning by the FBI.
The Home Office has refused to confirm or deny the existence of the request, while the royal family has not commented.
Five Epstein accusers are reportedly eager to give evidence regarding the Prince in US courts, and pre-trial subpoenas could be served regarding those cases should he enter the US.