Britain's Prince Andrew on Monday tried to bat back renewed scrutiny of his longtime friendship with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, despite new video showing the royal at the disgraced financier's Manhattan mansion in 2010 -- two years after Epstein pleaded guilty to solicitation of prostitution involving a minor and was forced to register as a sex offender.
Epstein, 66, hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy, the New York City medical examiner said in a report released Friday. The official results followed a week of speculation about the shocking death at the federal facility in Lower Manhattan. Epstein had pleaded not guilty to the latest charges and was being held without bail at the time of his death.
In the wake of the suicide, concerning allegations about the Duke of York's relationship with Epstein have reemerged, including accusations made by Virginia Giuffre, who claims Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince nearly two decades ago, when she was 17.
In a statement released Monday, Buckingham Palace said Andrew was "appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes."
“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent,” the Palace said.
The statement was released after the Mail on Sunday newspaper obtained a Dec. 6, 2010, video appearing to show Andrew inside Epstein's opulent Manhattan home as the prince waves goodbye to a young woman.
The video was recorded two years after Epstein's controversial deal in which he pleaded guilty to a Florida state felony charge of prostitution involving a minor. The terms of the deal included generous work release conditions for Epstein.
The duke was also photographed with Epstein in 2010 in New York's Central Park after Epstein had finished serving his 18-month prison sentence. The photos sparked controversy at the time and led Andrew to quit his role as a UK trade envoy in 2011, according to Sky News.
A document dump on the Friday directly preceding Epstein's death came after a federal appeals court ordered the release of court papers in a defamation lawsuit Giuffre brought against Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged "madam," Ghislaine Maxwell. The civil case was eventually settled.
Included in the documents, however, are portions of a deposition from Johanna Sjoberg, who said she was 21 years old in 2001 when Andrew grabbed her breast at Epstein’s mansion in New York.
Sjoberg testified the incident was sparked when "someone" suggested those gathered take a picture, at which point Sjoberg said she and Maxwell went to a closet and grabbed a puppet of Andrew.
"They told us to go get on the couch,” she said in the 2016 deposition. “And so Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet, the puppet on her lap. And so then I sat on Andrew’s lap, and, I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine."
She added: “I knew it was Prince Andrew because I knew him as a person."
The court papers also include a photograph that has been in circulation since 2015 showing Andrew with his arm around Giuffre's bare waist in London in 2001. Giuffre said she was 17 at the time the photo was taken.
Buckingham Palace has previously denied allegations the prince had sex with Giuffre, and told The Sun that Andrew was not a party to the U.S. proceedings in which his name had appeared and denied any illegality had occurred.
“Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue," the palace said in a statement at the time.
Epstein's death caused public and official outrage over how such a high-profile prisoner could have gone unmonitored.
Fox News' Tamara Gitt, Robert Gearty, Nicole Darrah and Samuel Chamberlain, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.