Prince Andrew ‘wasn’t well protected’ by Buckingham Palace during Jeffrey Epstein scandal, pal claims

Prince Andrew believes he’s now being targeted in the investigation concerning his pal, late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

“The Prince was quite simply an easy target,” an insider told The Spectator on Monday. “Andrew was the least protected of all the individuals who knew Jeffrey Epstein.”

“Andrew was a sitting duck, and he wasn’t well protected by the team over at Buckingham Palace,” the friend continued. "That’s not a criticism of the Palace. It’s the way the Palace has to operate, over decades and centuries, not days and weeks. They simply don't have the freedom of maneuver to afford Andrew the legal and media protection he needs and deserves.”

According to the outlet, Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has accused the Duke of York and his attorneys of refusing to cooperate with the Department of Justice three times in the last six months.

“Berman has actively misled the global media and the global audience,” a source told the outlet. “The Duke’s legal team has dozens of email exchanges with the Southern District, proving that there has been full cooperation.”

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Britain's Prince Andrew

Britain's Prince Andrew (Reuters/Neil Hall)

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“Since Epstein's death, commercial law firms and the Department of Justice have targeted the Prince, even though the facts about Epstein haven’t changed,” the source continued. “The DOJ is a water carrier for the commercial law firms who are representing the undoubtedly legitimate claims of Epstein’s victims. The Duke is being used as a lightning conductor for the DOJ and a battering ram for the law firms who want to secure settlements from Epstein’s estate.”

The outlet shared that while the British royal reportedly wants to offer his assistance in the investigation, the 60-year-old is also having a hard time trusting the DOJ.

“It’s Prince Andrew’s clear instruction that the working group he formed in January should facilitate a grown-up interaction with the DoJ,” claimed the insider. “He feels it is his duty to cooperate. His view is that all this is a further distraction from the genuine need for justice for Epstein’s victims. The form of witness statement could range from a written statement to an agreed Q&A. But not without the DoJ building trust - and fast. If they don’t, then we know they’re not serious about talking to Prince Andrew, and that it’s indeed a circus.”

The royal’s attorneys told Fox News they had no comment in regards to the recent report.

Attorney General William Barr told Fox News’ Bret Baier in an exclusive interview on Monday that the Justice Department is seeking to speak with Andrew.

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Royal Ascot Race Meeting Thursday - Ladies Day. Prince Andrew, The Duke Of York and Jeffrey Epstein (far right) At Ascot. With them are Edward (far left) and Caroline Stanley (in pink), the Earl and Countess of Derby.

Royal Ascot Race Meeting Thursday - Ladies Day. Prince Andrew, The Duke Of York and Jeffrey Epstein (far right) At Ascot. With them are Edward (far left) and Caroline Stanley (in pink), the Earl and Countess of Derby. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

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While Barr said there was no truth to reports that the U.K. would extradite the royal to the U.S., he did say the DOJ wanted to speak with the Duke of York to “provide some evidence.”

“I don’t think it’s a question of handing him over,” said Barr. “I think it’s just a question of having him provide some evidence, but beyond that, I’m not going to comment.”

In response to recent reports concerning Andrew, the FBI told Fox News they have “no comment and are unable to provide any further information.”

A spokesperson for DOJ also told Fox News: “As a matter of policy, the U.S. Department of Justice does not publicly comment on communications with foreign governments on investigative matters, including confirming or denying the very existence of such communications.”

In November 2019, Andrew asked his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, to allow for him to “step back” from public duties. He previously gave an interview to the BBC attempting to clear his name, but the televised sit-down is still recognized as a total public relations disaster. Many in the media were quick to deride the prince for not only defending his friendship with Epstein but failing to show empathy for the convicted sex offender’s victims.

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Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. 

Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.  (U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)

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“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support,” the statement posted to the royal family’s Twitter account read in part.

“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”

Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, has said Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew in 2001 when she was 17. She says Epstein flew her around the world on private planes to have sex with powerful men, and that she had sexual encounters with Andrew in London, New York and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever," the Duke of York said in his interview.

Giuffre had challenged the British royal to speak out, telling reporters in New York “he knows exactly what he’s done.”

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Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves the headquarters of Crossrail at Canary Wharf on March 7, 2011, in London, England. Prince Andrew is under increasing pressure after a series of damaging revelations about him surfaced, including criticism over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves the headquarters of Crossrail at Canary Wharf on March 7, 2011, in London, England. Prince Andrew is under increasing pressure after a series of damaging revelations about him surfaced, including criticism over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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“And the answer is nothing,” Andrew told the BBC.

Andrew admitted: "I kick myself ... on a daily basis” for being friends with and staying with Epstein on multiple occasions

“I stayed with him and that’s [something] I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that,” the second son of Queen Elizabeth said.

Elsewhere in the interview, Andrew admitted that he did not regret his friendship with Epstein because of the people he met and all the things he learned, another statement for which he was chastised by the media.

Epstein died in jail on Aug. 10, 2019, while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges that prosecutors alleged involved many girls over several years in the early 2000s.

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Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

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Fox News' Tyler McCarthy, Andrew O’Reilly and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.