Andrew’s association with convicted sex offender and disgraced financier Epstein has cast a shadow over his public life for several years. Following Epstein’s arrest and subsequent death last year, Andrew gave a ‘car-crash’ BBC Newsnight interview where he tried to address his relationship with his former friend — and the subsequent fallout led to him stepping down from royal duties. Epstein’s ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested yesterday by the FBI on charges of sex trafficking and perjury.
As a result, Andrew has been encouraged to assist the US with its investigation once again — especially as Ms Maxwell is believed to have introduced the royal to Epstein.
Acting US attorney Audrey Strauss said this week that she would “welcome” Andrew to talk to the authorities, and that “our doors remain open” for him to go to the US and make a statement as a witness.
However, Andrew and his legal team have responded. A source close to the royal’s working group said: “The Duke’s team remains bewildered given that we have twice communicated with the DOJ [US Department of Justice] in the last month and to date we have had no response.”
Although the authorities have not yet demanded it, some are calling for the royal to be extradited to the US, especially as the royal himself is facing allegations.
Prince Andrew is facing fresh calls to assist the US after Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest
Maxwell introduced Andrew to Epstein years ago — pictured together at Royal Ascot in 2000
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims Maxwell and Epstein trafficked her as a teenager, said she was instructed by them to have sex with the Duke of York on three separate occasions between 2001 and 2002.
Buckingham Palace has denied these claims, and said they were “false and without foundation”, but some are still calling for the royal to be extradited.
When motorist Harry Dunn was killed in a car accident last year in the UK involving a US diplomat wife, Anne Sacoolas, she was given diplomatic immunity and the US authorities helped her flee the country.
Mr Dunn’s family are now calling for an extradition exchange, where Ms Sacoolas would be extradited to the UK to be tried over Mr Dunn’s death, while Andrew would be sent to the US.
Yet, According to Nigel Cawthorne’s new biography, ‘Prince Andrew; Epstein and the Palace’ released last month, Andrew’s older brother Charles may actually have discovered a loophole to avoid extradition to the US years ago.
There is no suggestion that either royal has committed a criminal offence.
Epstein was being investigated with sex trafficking charges at the time of his death
Mr Cawthrone wrote that Andrew could try to plead against potential extradition if he had immunity from prosecution as a government official and as a member of the Queen’s household.
He said: “It is accepted that it is the one get-me-out-of-a-US-jail-card before one gets shunted into the American legal system.”
Mr Cawthorne explained: “The Prince of Wales was sued in 1977 after a ten-minute address he gave at the opening of the University of Cleveland’s law faculty new building.”
Law student Jack Kilroy then approached Charles after his speech and asked: “Prince Charles, when is the British Government going to stop torturing political prisoners in Ireland?”
Mr Kilroy also had an IRA badge on his lapel, “in solidarity with the three hundred or so protestors outside”.
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US President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania Trump, Epstein and Maxwell years ago
Prince Charles was sued in 1977, but the US extended legal immunity to him US
Mr Cawthorne continued: “Kilroy was bundled off within seconds by federal agents while Charles pointedly quizzed the assembled dignitaries, ‘Are there any more Irish here?’”
The biographer continued: “Declining to sign a waiver, [Mr Kilroy] instead sued Charles for having deprived him of his freedom of speech.
“Before it could go any further, however, the US State Department intervened and extended legal immunity to Charles.
“The prince had set a frequently cited precedent that would now be the best chance of avoiding extradition [should it be requested] for his younger brother.”
According to Mr Cawthorne, this precedent discovered by Charles in the Seventies could be used to help Andrew — if the US Government were to intervene and protect the royal.
The biographer pointed out that “Donald Trump was not like most presidents”, and had connections with Epstein himself.
As a result, there’s a possibility that he may intervene with the legal process and extend legal immunity to the Duke of York.
However, Mr Cawthorne pointed out that Mr Trump was asked if he knew Andrew in December 2019.
The President said: “I don’t know him, no.”
The two had actually had lunch together half a year before at Buckingham Palace.
They had actually known each other at least since 2000, when they were both photographed at an event with Epstein, but the President’s response implies he seeks to distance himself completely from the royal.
Prince Andrew is the Queen’s second eldest son
The BBC recently confirmed that US authorities submitted a “mutual legal assistance” request to the Home Office although this has not been confirmed by the US Department of Justice or the UK Home Office.
Under the terms of a MLA, if Andrew does not respond of his own accord, he could be called to a UK court and questioned.
However, Andrew has disputed claims that he has not collaborated with the US.
The royal’s lawyers have previously said: “As the public record indicates, the [US] Department of Justice has been actively investigating Mr Epstein and other targets for more than 16 years, yet the first time they requested the Duke’s help was on 2nd January 2020.”