Prince Andrew has “very little credibility” and should “take the oath and just tell the truth”, according to one of the lawyers representing Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.
Andrew, 60, issued a rare statement on Monday as he ended months of silence over allegations he had failed to co-operate with lawyers in the USA who are investigating the disgraced financier, Epstein.
Epstein killed himself in prison in New York as he awaited trial for sex trafficking offences.
Andrew and Epstein had been friends, and one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre, has accused the Duke of York of having sex with her three times when she was trafficked by the American.
Andrew denies the claims.
A row between the royal and the US authorities has been reignited this week as Andrew accused prosecutors of seeking publicity instead of his help, claiming they were wrong to say he had not offered to help with their enquiries.
But on Tuesday, Gloria Allred, lawyer representing some of the victims in the case, said Andrew had “very little credibility”.
Allred told BBC Breakfast: “I think that Prince Andrew at this point has very little credibility.
“And I have a lot of suspicion about what he is saying, through his representatives.
“I don’t have that same suspicion about the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, (Geoffrey) Berman.
“I think he is sincere that he wants to be able to interview and ask questions of Prince Andrew and this has been dragging on.”
She added: “There shouldn’t be conditions, there shouldn’t be delay, there should be transparency, and the victims deserve the truth. This is very painful for them.”
Allred is the lawyer who sent a US school bus to sit outside Buckingham Palace with a poster featuring Andrew’s face on his birthday earlier this year.
She said the victims had been caught in the “crossfire” and added: “They just want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about who may have conspired with Prince Andrew to sex traffic them and other underage girls.
“That’s all they’re asking.”
She continued: “Let him step up to the bar of justice, take the oath and just tell the truth.
“It’s just as simple as that. Trying to delay, trying to deny, trying to evade the questions and attack the questioners is really not helpful at all.
“You know, we have an expression in the law – justice delayed is justice denied. That’s never more true than it has been with Prince Andrew.”
On Monday it was reported that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) was seeking a mutual legal agreement (MLA). The Home Office is unable to confirm or deny the existence of MLAs.
But in response to the report of an MLA, Andrew’s legal team issued a fiery statement which said: “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 co-operation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.”
The row continued as Geoffrey Berman, who is leading the Epstein inquiry, said it was Andrew who was offering a “false portrayal” of events.
Berman said: “Today, Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to co-operate with an ongoing federal criminal investigation into sex trafficking and related offences committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates, even though the prince has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview and nearly four months ago informed us unequivocally – through the very same counsel who issued today’s release – that he would not come in for such an interview.
“If Prince Andrew is, in fact, serious about co-operating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open and we await word of when we should expect him.”
US attorney general William Barr said the US would not be looking to extradite the royal.
Barr told Fox News: “I don’t think it’s a question of handing him over. I think it’s just a question of having him provide some evidence.”
Andrew was forced to step back from his senior royal duties in November after a disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight over his friendship with Epstein.
He subsequently offered to help the US in the case, sparking this war of words over who has offered help when.
Giuffre has accused Andrew of having sex with her three times when she was trafficked, including once when she was 17, a minor in US law.
The MLA reportedly sought on Monday is a formal process used to obtain help in an investigation or prosecution of criminal offences, generally when co-operation cannot be obtained by law enforcement agencies.