Federal prosecutors in New York just made a stunning move in the Jeffrey Epstein case and want answers from a British royal family member.
The DOJ has formally requested, through official contacts with the British government, to speak with Prince Andrew.
This is all part of the ongoing criminal investigation into Epstein and his accomplices and my guess is some people very high up in society are getting nervous.
The request, made under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, or MLAT, is similar to a subpoena in this case for Prince Andrew’s testimony.
It’s a rare move to seek an interview like this through MLAT, officials say, and it’s focused on making sure the investigation is as thorough as possible.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman foreshadowed the move in March when he said he would consider legal action after Prince Andrew’s representatives had closed the door to an interview.
“Contrary to Prince Andrew’s very public offer to cooperate with our investigation into Epstein’s co-conspirators, an offer that was conveyed via press release, Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation,” Berman said, adding that his office is “considering its options.”
Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, told NBC News that the office would decline to comment.
Federal investigators have been trying for months to speak with the Duke of York, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II anda longtime friend of Epstein’s who has been accused by one woman of sexual abuse.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the request from U.S. prosecutors to speak with Prince Andrew. A spokesperson for U.K.’s Home Office said it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of mutual legal assistance requests.
A source close to Andrew’s legal team told NBC News that legal discussions with the Department of Justice are subject to strict confidentiality rules.
“We have chosen to abide by both the letter and the spirit of these rules, which is why we have made no comment about anything related to the DOJ during the course of this year. We believe in playing straight bat,” the source said.