Prince Andrew: Royalty has failed Epstein’s accusers, says lawyer

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Media captionPrince Andrew on Epstein: ‘There was no indication, absolutely no indication’

The Duke of York should apologise for his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a lawyer for one of the dead financier’s accusers has said.

Spencer Kuvin said “royalty has failed” Epstein’s alleged victims.

He called Prince Andrew’s interview with BBC Newsnight on Saturday “sad” and “depressing”.

The prince has stood by his decision to take part, despite critics describing it as a “car crash”.

On Monday, Mr Kuvin told the Today programme: “It was depressing that he [Prince Andrew] really did not acknowledge the breadth of his friendship with this despicable man and apologise.

“The mere fact that he was friends with a convicted sex offender and chose to continue his relationship with him – it just shows a lack of acknowledgement of the breadth of what this man [Epstein] did to these girls.”

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News Syndication

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Prince Andrew said this meeting with Epstein in 2010 was to end their relationship

Mr Kuvin said the focus of Epstein’s accusers had now turned to potential co-conspirators.

It has led to questions being asked about what role Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, may have played in procuring underage girls for the financier.

Ms Maxwell denies any wrongdoing.

Prince Andrew told the BBC he never suspected Epstein’s criminal behaviour during visits to the financier’s three homes.

But Mr Kuvin said he “did not think there was any way” the prince could have avoided seeing what was going on, “with young girls being shuttled in and out of those homes”.

Discussing Epstein’s alleged victims, Mr Kuvin said: “They’ve been wronged by the system for going on 12, almost 13 years, when they’ve been promised that justice would prevail.

“And every single time it comes around the system fails them. The government has failed them, the prosecutors have failed them, the US Attorney’s Office has failed them, the politicians have failed them – now royalty has failed them.

“It’s just by now empty promises. So, unfortunately they’re not very hopeful but they will continue the fight.”

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Virginia Roberts

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The duke was pictured with his accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home in 2001

It comes as the prince faces heavy criticism for the Newsnight interview.

People close to Prince Andrew said he wanted to address the issues head-on and did so with “honesty and humility”.

In the interview, the prince denied having sex with a then 17-year-old girl – Virginia Giuffre.

Former Buckingham Palace press officer Dickie Arbiter described the interview as “excruciating”.

The BBC’s royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said the prince was “very damaged” by the interview and the opportunity to clear his name had “failed, badly”.

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Media captionMr Arbiter says “questions will be asked” in the palace about the decision

For several months the Duke of York had been facing questions over his ties to Epstein – who, at the age of 66, took his own life while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Prince Andrew “categorically” denied having any sexual contact with Virginia Giuffre, known at the time as Virginia Roberts.

The first occasion, she said, took place when she was aged 17.

In a lengthy interview, which UK viewers can watch in full on BBC iPlayer or on YouTube elsewhere in the world, the duke said that:

  • On the date Virginia Giuffre says he had sex with her – 10 March, 2001, he had taken his daughter to Pizza Express in Woking for a party before spending the night at home
  • He dismissed claims he was sweating profusely because he had a “peculiar medical condition” meaning he cannot sweat, caused by an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War
  • He had commissioned investigations into whether a photograph of him with Ms Giuffre had been faked, but they were inconclusive
  • Speaking out about his relationship with the financier had become almost “a mental health issue” for him
  • He would testify under oath about his relationship with Ms Giuffre if “push came to shove”, and his lawyers advised him to
  • He was unaware of an arrest warrant against Epstein when he invited the financier to Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party at Windsor Castle
  • He did not regret his friendship with Epstein because of “the opportunities I was given to learn” from him about trade and business

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