Lawyer accuses palace of utilizing Meghan to take focus off Prince Andrew

0
234

A US lawyer for some of the women who say they were victims of Jeffrey Epstein has suggested that Buckingham Palace’s plans to examine bullying allegations against the Duchess of Sussex are a “calculated decision” to take the focus off Prince Andrew.

“Allegations about him are far worse than the allegations about Meghan Markle. Prince Andrew was a working royal when he became a friend of Jeffrey Epstein, who was a sexual predator,” said Gloria Allred.

“Prince Andrew is accused of much more than bullying or harassment in the workplace,” said the lawyer, who does not represent Virginia Giuffre, who has made the allegations against the prince, but is acting for 20 women who say they were victims of the disgraced US financier.

Allred and others have been campaigning for the prince, who denies the allegations against him, to offer himself for interview in person by US criminal investigators and prosecutors looking into Epstein’s crimes and those associated with him.

The lawyer last month arranged for a US-style school bus to drive through different parts of London, including past Buckingham Palace, with a message on the side asking the prince to speak with the FBI.

In a statement issued on Monday, Allred said: “Why does Buckingham Palace not conduct an investigation and make a public statement condemning Prince Andrew for failing to provide what is requested to those who are seeking the whole truth and justice for the victims of crimes against children?

“Why has Prince Andrew not been stripped of the royal titles that he enjoys, as has been the case for Meghan and Harry? He has certainly not brought dignity and respect to his work as a royal.”

Allred added: “The investigation into Meghan Markle is a distraction, and it appears hypocritical under the circumstances. I have to wonder if it reflects a calculated decision to take the focus off of Prince Andrew.

“It is long overdue for the palace to change its priorities and announce that it is conducting its own investigation of Prince Andrew. In addition, it should immediately issue a statement condemning Prince Andrew for failing to provide full in-person cooperation in the ongoing criminal investigation by the United States justice department.”

In December, Andrew’s spokesperson declined to comment on a report that the prince stayed in the New York mansion of the sex offender Epstein in April 2001, despite Andrew denying doing so in his infamous Newsnight interview.

The refusal to repeat the denial came after the Daily Mail uncovered a fax that said the prince had stayed at a “private address in New York” on 11 April and its sources confirmed this was Epstein’s £60m home in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Giuffre, who was 17 at the time and called Virginia Roberts, alleges Epstein flew her to New York to have sex with Andrew – something Andrew continues to deny.

Giuffre says she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with the prince three times in 2001. The prince has always denied any wrongdoing and says he cannot recall meeting her or having his picture taken with her.

He said in November: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein … Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”

Since then he has not spoken to US authorities investigating Epstein’s alleged crimes.