By Peta Fuller and wires
November 22, 2019 17:03:14
Prince Andrew is facing mounting calls to provide information to authorities investigating crimes committed by American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
- Lady Victoria Hervey, an ex-girlfriend of Prince Andrew, said there were hidden cameras in Epstein’s New York apartment
- Prince Andrew has stepped back from royal duties but will still work on his flagship project on a “private basis”
- The scandal around Prince Andrew has become a major challenge for the British monarchy
When Epstein died in August, he was facing charges of trafficking in underage girls who provided sexual favours to the powerful men visiting his luxury properties in the Caribbean, and elsewhere.
Lady Victoria Hervey, who dated Prince Andrew and stayed at Epstein’s apartment in New York, said while she didn’t see any of the girls staying in the apartment at the time, she felt “very uncomfortable” there and eventually cut her trip short, moving in with a friend.
“I felt I was being watched, there were cameras, there were hidden cameras and I left I think after about 10 days or so,” she told UK television show Good Morning Britain.
She said when the revelations about Epstein came out she was “completely shocked”.
“I had no idea, I really had no idea and the more I was reading about it the more I was like wow, I was actually in one of these apartments,” she said.
“I saw things but I didn’t see the truth, like I had no idea what was really going on.”
The model and socialite said she met Epstein through his associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, who invited her to stay at the New York apartment.
But she said “sex trafficking” was too strong a term for what Epstein was doing.
“I think to be honest the word sex trafficking, that’s a very strong word and I don’t think that is a correct word to use for this,” she said.
“When you think of sex trafficking you think of a 12-year-old that’s been kidnapped, that’s chained in a cage. This is not the same thing; these girls were living the high life.”
Interviewer Piers Morgan reacted to her comment, saying it was not some “light thing”.
“Epstein was convicted of procuring a 14-year-old girl for sex, that’s trafficking; when they’re underage it is trafficking, it is not some light thing, they are being trafficked,” Morgan said.
“It was being described as being like a railway station, in and out, in and out all the time. Many of them underage, and that was his thing. That makes him a very dangerous serial paedophile, who was trafficking them.”
“Ghislaine Maxwell, your friend of 20 years, is the woman accused of actually procuring a lot of these underaged girls for him to sate his criminal lust.”
What has Prince Andrew actually ‘stepped back’ from?
On Wednesday, the 59-year-old prince removed himself from public duties for the “foreseeable future”, with the approval of the Queen.
On Thursday morning, UK time, he was seen leaving his home at Windsor, and that night he was photographed driving from Buckingham Palace.
Charities and educational institutions that had fundraising ties to the prince — the royal website lists dozens —have quickly begun to question if he could actually hurt their brands.
Two Australian universities have confirmed they are cutting ties with his flagship Pitch@Palace program.
However, Buckingham Palace has confirmed he will continue to work on Pitch@Palace on a private basis, without financial help from the palace.
The prince has resigned as patron of The Outward Bound Trust, which helps develop young people through outdoor activities, and as president of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions following his much-criticised weekend interview with the BBC.
Students at the University of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire called for his sacking as chancellor this week, and the prince stepped down yesterday.
He is also expected to give up his ceremonial military posts.
Palace on subpoena watch
Prince Andrew still may face legal questioning about allegations that he had sex with a girl provided by Epstein when she was just 17, a charge he has denied and that she insists is true.
US attorney Gloria Allred, who represents some of the women abused by Epstein, said the prince should contact American authorities “without conditions and without delay.”
Prince Andrew has said he is “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required” but he has not volunteered to provide evidence.
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It is not clear if US authorities are investigating Prince Andrew for any possible wrongdoing. Many of the court papers related to the Epstein case are still sealed and unavailable to the public.
British legal experts, meanwhile, are divided over whether the prince enjoys immunity from prosecution as a senior member of the Royal Family.
Some say he should reach out to US officials in an effort to clear his name rather than wait for a subpoena or legal action that would force him to testify.
That could happen if US officials, working through the US Embassy in London, ask Britain’s Foreign Office to secure Andrew’s cooperation.
In his interview with the BBC on Saturday, Prince Andrew denied having sex with Virginia Giuffre, saying he didn’t remember meeting her despite a published photograph that appears to show him with his arm around her.
British lawyer Mark Stephens believes Prince Andrew will eventually have to testify under oath to answer Ms Giuffre’s charge that she was encouraged to have sex with him three times when she was 17.
“The question is where he answers,” Mr Stephens said.
“There is no reason why the FBI or indeed the lawyers for Virginia Roberts (Giuffre’s name before she was married) couldn’t come to the UK to take his evidence.”
Mr Stephens said it was doubtful that Prince Andrew could provide useful evidence on other cases related to Epstein’s crimes, which have led to a number of civil suits against his estate.
“There are much better witnesses,” he said.
“What could he say that couldn’t be said by witnesses that went more frequently, the staff at any of his homes for example, and the people close to him, the fixers? Those are the people with really probative evidence.”
The scandal over Prince Andrew’s ties to Epstein has blossomed into the biggest challenge for Britain’s monarchy since the 1997 death of Princess Diana, when the Queen was accused of appearing aloof and out of touch amid an outpouring of national mourning.
November 22, 2019 14:10:13
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