Legal experts in the States have conceded the Duke of York, 60, cannot be compelled to co-operate with investigators but warned it would be wrong for him to revisit the US. The Department of Justice has filed a Mutual Legal Assistance request to the British Government hoping to force Andrew into providing a statement or submitting to an interview. They want to quiz the royal about what he knew about Epstein as, despite the financier’s suicide last August while awaiting trial, they continue their underage sex trafficking probe into him.
Former federal prosecutor David Weinstein, an expert in government investigations, has now called the MLA request a “last resort”.
He added that even if approved by the Home Office, Andrew retained the right not to comply as he could invoke rights against self-incrimination.
Another former government prosecutor Robert Feitel agreed, adding it would be a severe mistake for Andrew to revisit America.
He said: “It would probably also be an error for him to meet with US law enforcement and make a statement.”
If Andrew did visit, he could be served legal papers by lawyers for Epstein’s victims. This week a diplomatic war broke out after the Duke’s legal team hit back at claims by New York prosecutor Geoffrey Berman, who is heading the inquiry into Epstein, that Andrew had provided “zero co-operation” to their investigation.
They said the Prince had on three occasions offered assistance to which Mr Berman responded by accusing his lawyers of lying.
Mr Berman said: “Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to co-operate with an investigation into sex trafficking and related offences committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates.”