ABC News anchor Amy Robach was caught on a hot mic claiming higher-ups at her network killed a story that would have exposed the now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein three years ago, but the Disney-owned news organization says it wasn't up to their standards.
“I’ve had the story for three years… we would not put it on the air,” Robach said on the hot mic. “It was unbelievable what we had, Clinton, we had everything.”
Project Veritas, whose controversial founder, James O'Keefe, describes himself as a “guerrilla journalist,” published the footage that included Robach saying ABC refused to air an interview she conducted with one of Epstein’s victims.
Robach quickly admitted the authenticity of the video, which has not been independently verified by Fox News, but dismissed the notion of unethical journalism.
“As a journalist, as the Epstein story continued to unfold last summer, I was caught in a private moment of frustration. I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with [Epstein accuser] Virginia Roberts didn’t air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations,” Robach said in a statement provided to Fox News.
The hot mic outburst was published by Project Veritas, which said that the tape was leaked by an ABC News insider.
“We would not put it on the air. Um, first of all, I was told, who’s Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story," Robach said on the video recording. "Then, the Palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways. We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate and Will that we, that also quashed the story.”
Robach also said that Roberts had photos and statements from attorneys to back up her claims.
“I tried for three years to get it on to no avail. And now it’s all coming out and it’s like these new revelations and I freaking had all of it,” Robach said. “I’m so pissed right now.”
ABC News downplayed the significance of the video, telling Fox News that the Epstein story wasn’t fit to air.
“At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story. Ever since, we’ve had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it," an ABC News spokesperson told Fox News. "That work has led to a two-hour documentary and 6-part podcast that will air in the new year.”
Robach was also heard saying, “There will come a day when we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known. I had it all, three years ago.”
Robach's diatribe was allegedly recorded in late August, days after NPR criticized the mainstream media, including ABC, for sitting on Epstein news.
“My comments about Prince Andrew and her allegation that she had seen Bill Clinton on Epstein’s private island were in reference to what Virginia Roberts said in that interview in 2015,” Robach said. “I was referencing her allegations -- not what ABC News had verified through our reporting. The interview itself, while I was disappointed it didn’t air, didn’t meet our standards. In the years since no one ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story.”
Epstein was found dead this past August in his Manhattan prison cell while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges.
Robach also said on the video that she “100 percent” thinks Epstein was actually murdered.
“He made his whole living blackmailing people. There was a lot of men in those planes, a lot of men who visited that island, lot of powerful men who came into that apartment,” she said. "I knew immediately."
Famed forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden exclusively told Fox News last week that Epstein's body bore telltale signs of homicide despite an official ruling that he killed himself.
Prosecutors alleged that the previously convicted sex offender paid girls as young as 14 hundreds of dollars for massages before he molested them in his homes in New York and Palm Beach, Fla., between 2002 and 2005.
Project Veritas, which frames itself as a conservative whistleblower watchdog group, has previously released what it claims to be hidden camera footage of network news producers, federal politicians, and members of private political organizations making statements while unaware they were being recorded.
Fox News' Nick Givas and Melissa Leon contributed to this report