THE Duke of York is facing growing calls to give a formal statement to American authorities examining the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, following his television interview at the weekend.
Andrew’s appearance on BBC’s Newsnight programme — to deny allegations that he had sex with an underage teenage girl and to explain his friendship with the convicted sex offender — has drawn widespread condemnation, but the duke (pictured above) is said to be standing by his decision to put his side of the story.
Saturday’s interview has been widely criticised, with commentators questioning his responses and condemning his unsympathetic tone and seeming lack of remorse over the friendship with the now-deceased US financier.
The duke was caught up in further controversy when a newspaper columnist claimed the royal used a racially offensive word during a Buckingham Palace meeting in 2012.
Rohan Silva, who writes for the Evening Standard and at the time was then prime minister David Cameron’s key aide on the tech economy, said during a discussion he asked the royal if the government department responsible for trade ‘could be doing a better job’.
He told the Standard the duke replied: ‘Well, if you’ll pardon the expression, that really is the n***** in the woodpile.’
Sources have categorically denied Andrew used the word, saying: ‘The duke did not say that.’
Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, who interviewed the duke for Newsnight, has revealed the Queen gave her approval for the televised questioning.
US lawyer Spencer Kuvin, who represents a woman who claims she was a victim of Epstein, told Radio 4’s Today programme that Andrew should come forward to help the ongoing investigation into Epstein.
Mr Kuvin said: ‘As a lawyer, I was rather shocked that he would go on camera like this because anything he says can be utilised in a cross-examination of him later, should he choose to come forward and actually, in an official capacity, allow himself to be interviewed by the US authorities — which I believe he should do.
‘I don’t think there’s any way that a man who’s been to all three of Mr Epstein’s homes could avoid seeing what was going on in those homes, with people going in and out and young girls being shuttled in and out of those homes.’
Conflicting newspaper reports, based on sources, claim Andrew told the Queen his television appearance on BBC’s Newsnight programme was a success, while another says he expressed to friends regret at not mentioning sympathy for the women trafficked for sex by Epstein.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Gloria Allred, a lawyer representing other alleged victims in the Epstein case, said of Andrew: ‘I don’t see how he could have not known that there were underage girls — minors. Because he did visit homes of Mr Epstein in New York, in Palm Beach, in the Virgin Islands; and I happen to know there were underage girls in all of those locations.
‘So, why didn’t he ask the questions: Where are your parents, are you in school, why aren’t you in school, are you living here, are you working here, what kind of job do you have, what do you do, why are you here?’ she said.
She went on to say she did not know how the duke could not have seen the young girls because ‘there were so many of them’.
Asked what questions she would like to ask Andrew, Ms Allred said she wanted to know: ‘Who helped to recruit underage girls for Mr Epstein to be sexually assaulted, who was in the chain, who assisted, who knowingly conspired with Mr Epstein to traffic — to sex traffic — these children to Mr Epstein.’