Attorney General William Barr told Fox News’ Bret Baier in an exclusive interview Monday that the Justice Department is seeking to speak with Prince Andrew in connection with a criminal investigation into disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in jail last year.
While Barr said there was no truth to reports that the United Kingdom 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,” Barr said during the interview, airing Monday night at 6 p.m. ET on Fox News’ “Special Report.” “I think it’s just a question of having him provide some evidence, but beyond that, I’m not going to comment.”
Prince Andrew, the third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, was friends with Epstein and has been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl who claimed she was a victim of Epstein’s sex trafficking.
Andrew has flatly denied he had sex with the teenager. The woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has claimed Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew in 2001, when she was 17.
She said that 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 City and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Epstein killed himself in a U.S. jail last summer as he awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges.
Barr’s comments came only hours after Andrew’s attorneys said they've been assured by the DOJ that he was not a target in the Epstein investigation.
The firm, Blackfords LLP, said U.S. officials requested the help of the son of Queen Elizabeth II for the first time in January after having investigated Epstein for 16 years. He has offered three times to do so — contrary to the statements of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, the firm said.
“Importantly, the DOJ advised us that the Duke is not and has never been a ‘target’ of their criminal investigations into Epstein and that they sought his confidential, voluntary co-operation,” the attorneys said.
The firm issued the unusual statement after reports in Britain’s Sun newspaper and on NBC that U.S. officials formally requested that Andrew answer questions on the matter. He categorically denied wrongdoing and repeatedly has insisted he was willing to cooperate.
As Blackfords insisted Andrew was trying to cooperate, it pushed back Monday. It said it was a “matter of regret” that the department would “breach its own rules of confidentiality, not least as they are designed to encourage witness cooperation.
“Far from our client acting above the law, as has been implied by press briefings in the US, he is being treated by a lower standard than might reasonably be expected for any other citizen,” Blackfords said. “Further, those same breaches of confidentiality by the DOJ have given the global media – and, therefore, the worldwide audience – an entirely misleading account of our discussions with them.
Fox News’ Bret Baier and The Associated Press contributed to this report.