Will Scotland Yard force Prince Andrew to talk about Epstein?
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, seems to have done an about-face when it comes to Jeffrey Epstein. When the 2019 investigation first began, Prince Andrew said he would be completely willing to cooperate with U.S. authorities. Since then, the prince has gone silent.
Fearing extradition to the U.S., Prince Andrew has since refused to cooperate according to U.S. officials. Members of Prince Andrew’s team said the opposite was true. Prince Andrew has been cooperating according to them.
If U.S. officials can’t get him to talk, who can? Experts are turning to Scotland Yard, hoping they can reach Prince Andrew. Will they? Let’s find out.
Why would Scotland Yard be involved?
Scotland Yard, also called the Metropolitan Police, is responsible for policing all 32 boroughs of Greater London. They’re the arm of UK law enforcement that handles crimes committed in London.
It would stand to reason they would be called to investigate an incident between Prince Andrew and one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts-Giuffre. This allegedly happened in Greater London in the 2000s. Roberts-Giuffre claims Epstein gave Roberts-Giuffre to Prince Andrew, and that he sexually assaulted her three times.
Both Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace strongly deny Virginia Roberts-Giuffre’s claims that the prince abused her. Also, Prince Andrew says that the DOJ told him that they weren’t looking at him as a suspect.
The Ghislaine Maxwell trial
Virginia Roberts-Giuffre’s statements allegedly connect Prince Andrew to Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring. However, the DOJ is mainly seeking his assistance in the upcoming Ghislaine Maxwell trial.
Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell were friends for years. They both went to Oxford together. Maxwell introduced Prince Andrew to Epstein, beginning their connection.
Is Scotland Yard changing their tune?
When Virginia Roberts-Giuffre approached Scotland Yard to investigate her claims in 2019, the police force told her that her charges would have to go to American authorities. However, since the Department of Justice submitted a mutual legal assistance request, the Met has agreed to help with the investigation.
While the Met maintains that this is a U.S. investigation, the Met commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick clarified: “the locus and focus of any investigation in relation to Jeffrey Epstein for example is clearly in America. If the Americans need our assistance at any stage, then we will give them that.”
What does the mutual legal assistance request do?
The U.S. Dept. of Justice’s request allows UK courts to subpoena Prince Andrew to answer questions related to the Jeffrey Epstein case. If he doesn’t go to U.S. officials voluntarily, the UK can make him provide answers.
The deal seems like a win-win. Prince Andrew doesn’t have to worry about extradition, and the DOJ can receive the answers they need to complete their investigation.
Prince Andrew doesn’t see it that way. Blasting Scotland Yard’s agreement, his legal team wrote a strongly-worded letter, claiming the Duke of York “offered his assistance to the DOJ on three occasions.” The letter also accused the department of seeking publicity rather than justice and claimed they broke confidentiality by going public.
What happens now?
So far, the request for assistance is the only request Scotland Yard received from the DOJ. Prince Andrew hasn’t been summoned to testify in a London court, nor is it clear whether Scotland Yard will look at his role as a participant or a witness to Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial is scheduled for 2021 and discovery ends in November. Prosecutors will most likely want a statement from Prince Andrew in the fall, so they can make his testimony part of the trial.