The Duke of York’s silence on Jeffrey Epstein was akin to a “torture test” for his victims, said a US lawyer.
Attorney Gloria Allred said that Prince Andrew was “avoiding and evading” US authorities as Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, appeared in court accused of facilitating his sexual exploitation of underage girls.
Maxwell was alleged to have helped the disgraced financier “identify, befriend and groom” girls, including one as young as 14.
The acting US attorney for New York’s southern district, Audrey Strauss, added that authorities would welcome a statement from the duke in relation to the investigation.
The duke’s team said on Thursday that the US justice department had not responded on two occasions over the past month when he “twice communicated” with authorities.
That comes as Epstein’s alleged victims and their lawyers have called on the duke to discuss his friendship with the disgraced financier, who committed suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges in prison last year.
“The question is, Prince Andrew, when is he going to tell what he knows? He needs to do that. He needs to do it without delay. It is so traumatising and difficult for the victims not to know the truth”, Ms Allred told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
“And this kind of torture test that Prince Andrew is subjecting the victims to, like will he or won’t he give a statement, if he will, when?
She added: “More excuses, more delays, it really is painful for many of the victims. It’s just not fair.”
Attorney Spencer Coogan said his clients were “relieved” that the British socialite, Maxwell, had been arrested.
Mr Coogan also urged Prince Andrew to reveal what he witnessed while visiting Epstein’s properties in New York, Palm Beach and the Virgin Islands.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I certainly think Prince Andrew has a story to tell. On behalf of the victims we have continuously asked him to step forward, step up, be a man and tell us what he knows.
“He has been hiding behind not only the royal family but his attorneys.”
One of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, claims she had sex with the duke on three occasions at the socialite’s London townhouse in 2001, when she was 17 and still a minor under US law.
The duke, who was introduced to Epstein via Maxwell, had been pictured with Ms Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts.
He denies the allegations over sexual contact with Ms Giuffre, and maintains that he has attempted to communicate with US authorities into investigations.
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