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Lawyer for Epstein victims urges Prince Andrew to aid probe

Prince Andrew

New York, Nov 22 (UITV/IANS)- An attorney representing several alleged victims of late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein said here that Britain's Prince Andrew should share with authorities what he knows about the activities of his long-time friend.

"I urge Prince Andrew to contact the investigators for the Attorney's Office of the US Southern District of New York, and volunteer to be interviewed by them without conditions and without delay," Gloria Allred told a press conference on Thursday.

She made the public appeal a day after the 59-year-old Duke of York announced that he was stepping back from his royal duties "for the foreseeable future" over his friendship with the convicted sex offender, Efe news reported.

"Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required," the prince said.

Allred said that Andrew's choice of words raised questions.

"I am glad that he is willing to speak to law enforcement, although I am not sure what he means by 'if required,'" the lawyer said. "Is he insisting that he be served with a subpoena to testify or is he willing to speak to law enforcement without being legally required to do so? My clients who are victims of Jeffrey Epstein have spoken to law enforcement without being 'required' to do so."

If the prince is anxious to undo the damage he has done to his reputation by associating with Epstein, he should "sit for an interview as soon as possible with the criminal investigators," Allred said.

She appeared at the press conference alongside one of her clients, Teala Davies, who filed a lawsuit against Epstein's estate seeking compensation for "battery, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress."

Now 34, Davies said she came under Epstein's influence when she was 17.

Criticism of Andrew for his relationship with the well-connected financier increased after the airing last weekend of the prince's interview with the BBC.

Besides denying any memory of having met Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims she had sex with the prince while a minor on the orders of Epstein and the latter's friend, Ghislaine Maxwell, Andrew evinced no sympathy for the late financier's victims.

Giuffre has produced a photograph of her then-17-year-old self with Prince Andrew, his arm around her waist, and Maxwell standing in the background.

Though the sex-trafficking case against Epstein, 66, ended with his death three months ago inside a federal detention center in New York, victims are suing his estate and prosecutors have left open the possibility of charging others people as accomplices.

Epstein first faced charges of sexually exploiting minors more than a decade ago, but that prosecution ended in 2008 with an agreement that saw him serve a 13-month sentence in a jail in Palm Beach County, Florida, after pleading guilty to state charges.

Federal prosecutors revived the case in July and ordered Epstein arrested.

He was found dead in his cell on Aug. 10 and New York City's chief medical examiner, Barbara Sampson, ruled the death a suicide by hanging.

Late last month, however, a well-known forensic pathologist hired by Epstein's brother said the evidence suggested he was strangled in his jail cell.

Michael Baden, who held Sampson's position decades ago, told Fox News that Epstein sustained three fractures that "are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation."

Baden said that his client, Mark Epstein, was "concerned that if (his brother) was murdered then other people who have information might be at risk," suggesting that possible pressure from powerful individuals led to the financier's death.

Jeffrey Epstein, who was known for friendships with high-profile figures such as US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Israeli former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and retail mogul Les Wexner, faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.