LONDON – U.S. prosecutors and attorneys for Britain's Prince Andrew sniped at one another across the Atlantic on Monday, each saying the other side was to blame for the duke's failure to participate in the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking probe.
Andrew's lawyers said in a statement that he has offered three times this year to speak with U.S. investigators after being assured that he “is not and has never been a ‘target’ of their criminal investigations into Epstein.”
That offer, though, came with a request that “our co-operation and any interview arrangements would remain confidential,” said the firm Blackfords LLP in London.
“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 lawyers said.
Hours later, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, issued a statement saying the prince had tried to “falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate” even as he repeatedly declined to schedule an interview.
“If Prince Andrew is, in fact, serious about cooperating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open, and we await word of when we should expect him,” Berman said.
Berman’s statement addressed only Prince Andrew’s willingness to be interviewed. It made no mention of the claims by his lawyers that the Department of Justice had advised them that Andrew is not a target of the investigation, or that they made any promise that whatever he told investigators would be confidential.
Before Monday, Berman had said that Andrew has provided “zero cooperation” to American investigators.