By Fox News |
Prince Andrew's legal team 'bewildered' over claims royal won't cooperate in Epstein investigation: source | Fox News
Fox News Flash top entertainment headlines for July 2
Prince Andrew’s legal team is apparently stunned after prosecutors in New York said they would like the Duke of York to speak to them following the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein’s confidant Ghislaine Maxwell on sex trafficking charges.
The late financier’s former girlfriend and accused madam was taken into custody at 8:30 a.m. in Bradford, N.H., the FBI confirmed to Fox News. The 58-year-old was arrested on charges she allegedly helped recruit three girls – one as young as 14 – to be sexually abused by Epstein, who was accused of assaulting dozens of girls and women over many years.
Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said she “would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us."
“We would like to have the benefit of his statement,” said Strauss, adding their doors remain open.
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Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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Sources close to Andrew’s working group insisted to Fox News the British royal has attempted to reach out and offer his assistance.
“The Duke’s team remains bewildered given that we have twice communicated with the DOJ in the last month, and to date, we have no response,” claimed the source.
The 60-year-old's legal team told Fox News they had no comment regarding Maxwell’s arrest.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
For years, Maxwell, a British socialite, has been accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured to have sex. However those accusations, until now, have never resulted in criminal charges.
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Ghislaine Maxwell attends the VIP Evening of Conversation for Women's Brain Health Initiative, Moderated by Tina Brown at Spring Studios on October 18, 2016, in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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The FBI said they were keeping tabs on Maxwell before her arrest.
“More recently we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago,” William Sweeney, head of the FBI’s New York office, said in a news conference on Thursday.
The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, included counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and perjury.
Maxwell reportedly introduced Epstein to the Duke of York in 1999, The Telegraph reported.
Andrew has denied ever having sex with one of Epstein’s main accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, after she claimed she had sex with Andrew three times, including when she was 17.
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Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. (Florida Southern District Court) (U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)
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The now-36-year-old has claimed she was introduced to Andrew in Maxwell’s London home in 2001, The Telegraph reported. The now-famous photo of the Duke with the young woman was said to have been taken there. According to the outlet, Andrew is last known to have met with Maxwell at Buckingham Palace in 2019, two weeks after U.S. prosecutors announced they wanted to reopen their investigation into Epstein.
Andrew was issued his walking papers and ordered to move his offices out of Buckingham Palace in November after a nuclear interview he gave to the BBC in which he defended his friendship with Epstein. It was during that same televised interview that Andrew denied having sex with Giuffre.
In June, attorneys representing Andrew told Fox News the Duke of York has offered to speak with investigators.
“We were given an unequivocal assurance that our discussions and the interview process would remain confidential,” they said at the time. “The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ. 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.”
Andrew was not mentioned by name in the indictment, and the charges covered Maxwell’s dealings with Epstein only from 1994 through 1997, a period well before his alleged encounters with Giuffre in 2001.
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Britain's Prince Andrew (Reuters/Neil Hall)
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Brad Edwards, an attorney representing Giuffre and several other Epstein victims said his clients were relieved by the charges.
“Today is a very good day,” he said.
At the time the alleged crimes, Maxwell was in an intimate relationship with Epstein and also was paid by him to manage his various properties, according to the indictment.
Strauss promised the investigation was continuing and urged other victims to come forward.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.