Attorneys representing women who say Jeffrey Epstein abused them criticized Prince Andrew Monday and urged him to speak to law enforcement amid growing backlash to the British royal’s stunning BBC interview.
Attorney Gloria Allred urged Prince Andrew to “step up” and tell the FBI the details of what he knew about Epstein.
“He’s concerned about doing what is honorable and what is right, and so I urge him to volunteer to speak to federal law enforcement and share what he knows,” Allred said. “Not only about Mr. Epstein, but about Miss (Ghislaine) Maxwell and anyone else that was in Mr. Epstein’s circle, because there is still an ongoing, serious, intense, criminal investigation by the United States Justice Department.”
Allred also spoke Monday alongside a woman, identified as Jane Doe 15, who filed a civil lawsuit against Epstein alleging that he sexually trafficked her when she was 15. She did not meet Prince Andrew but rejected his claim to the BBC that he did not know about Epstein’s criminal activity.
“It was clear from the time I spent with Epstein that something was very wrong with his lifestyle, and it didn’t take a victim to see that,” the woman said. “We were not hidden. It is upsetting to me to think that anyone who was closely associated with Jeffrey Epstein might argue that they didn’t suspect that he might have been sexually abusing children.”
Lisa Bloom, Allred’s daughter and an attorney representing five women who say Epstein abused them, told CNN that Andrew’s interview was “deeply disappointing.” She said several of his responses in the interview were “simply not credible.”
“Most importantly, the lengthy interview lacked any statement that he joins all decent people in being appalled and revolted by what we now know about Jeffrey Epstein’s predatory behavior,” she said. “As for the victims, Prince Andrew should apologize to them, and then put that apology into action by fully cooperating with all legal investigations.”
The critical comments come after Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, spoke to the BBC on Saturday about the allegations against him and his years-long friendship with Epstein. The interview has led to near-universal condemnation for his specific denials of wrongdoing and his apparent lack of remorse.
The BBC interview
One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has alleged that she was forced into sexual encounters with Prince Andrew when she was underage. In a 2015 federal court filing, she alleged Epstein forced her to perform sex acts with several prominent men, including Prince Andrew in 2001. All of them have denied the allegations.
Giuffre has not responded to Prince Andrew’s latest comments, but she addressed his previous denials in August.
“He knows exactly what he’s done and I hope he comes clean about it,” she said.
Epstein died of an apparent suicide in prison while awaiting trial on federal charges that he sexually abused young girls and ran a sex-trafficking ring. He had pleaded not guilty before his death.
On Saturday, the prince told the BBC that he did not recall meeting her and offered a number of defenses against the allegations.
He said he had taken his daughter to a party at a pizza restaurant on the night Giuffre claimed he had sex with her. He also claimed that for many years he could not physically sweat, which he said countered Giuffre’s allegation that he was “sweating profusely” before they had sex.
Further, the prince also suggested that a widely shared photo of the two may have been faked.
Asked by BBC interviewer Emily Maitlis whether he felt any “guilt, regret or shame” about his behavior or friendship with Epstein, the prince said only that it was “the wrong decision to go and see him in 2010.”
“Do I regret the fact he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? Yes,” he said of Epstein.
“Unbecoming? He was a sex offender,” Maitlis responded.
“Yeah, I’m sorry, I’m being polite, I mean in the sense that he was a sex offender,” he said.
Further, the prince said it was a “considerable stretch to say that he was a very, very close friend” of Epstein. However, he admitted he had stayed at Epstein’s homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, had been on Epstein’s private plane and traveled to Epstein’s private island.
The friendship continued even after Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida in 2008 and registered as a sex offender.
Just months after his release in 2010, Prince Andrew stayed at Epstein’s New York City house in 2010. He told the BBC that he paid the visit because he wanted to “break up” the friendship, but ended up staying because it was “convenient.”
“At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do,” he said in the interview. “But at the time I felt it was the honorable and right thing to do, and I admit fully that my judgment was probably colored by my tendency to be too honorable but that’s just the way it is.”
CNN’s Lauren del Valle, Dakin Andone and Aimee Lewis contributed to this report.