Prince Andrew stepping back from royal duties

Prince Andrew: Epstein ‘a constant sore in the family’

The Duke of York says he is stepping back from royal duties because the Jeffrey Epstein scandal has become a “major disruption” to the Royal Family.

Prince Andrew, 59, said he had asked the Queen for permission to withdraw for the “foreseeable future”.

He said he deeply sympathised with sex offender Epstein’s victims and everyone who “wants some form of closure”.

The duke has faced a growing backlash following a BBC interview about his friendship with the US financier.

In a statement, he said: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.

“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”

He added that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said the move was “a big step” and was “pretty much without precedent in modern times”.

He said it showed a realisation that the interview had “upset a lot of people”, adding: “It was more than just bad publicity for Prince Andrew, it was clearly damaging the wider institution of the Royal Family.”

Earlier, a letter written to the Times newspaper by Buckingham Palace cast doubt on when the duke first met Epstein.

The 2011 letter says they met in the early 1990s, not in 1999 as Prince Andrew said in his BBC interview.

The letter was published after the Times reported on the existence of a photo of the prince with 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre, then known as Roberts, who would later testify that she had been forced to have sex with him.

The duke has always denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.

Prince Andrew with Virginia Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell standing behind, in early 2001 (said to have been taken at Maxwell’s London home)The duke was pictured with Ms Giuffre in Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home in 2001

In his interview with the BBC’s Newsnight on Saturday, the duke said he met Epstein “through his girlfriend back in 1999” – a reference to Ghislaine Maxwell, who had been a friend of Prince Andrew since she was at university.

The duke said he could not recall ever meeting Ms Giuffre and recalled that he went to Pizza Express in Woking and then returned home the night she claims they first met.

He sought to cast doubt on her testimony that he was “profusely sweating” in a nightclub, saying that a medical condition at the time meant he could not perspire.

The duke said meeting Epstein for a final time in 2010 was “the wrong decision”, but said the “opportunities I was given to learn” about business meant he did not regret the friendship.

Prince Andrew, left, and Jeffrey Epstein in New York's Central ParkThe prince said he regretted this 2010 meeting with Epstein

The duke’s website says he carries out official duties for the Queen, focusing on promoting economic growth and skilled job creation.

Over the past two months he has carried out overseas engagements in Australia, United Arab Emirates and Thailand.

BT became the latest in a series of organisations to distance themselves from Prince Andrew, following the interview.

In a statement, the firm said it had been working with iDEA – which helps people develop digital, business and employment skills – since 2017 but “our dealings have been with its executive directors not its patron, the Duke of York”.

“In light of recent developments we are reviewing our relationship with the organisation and hope that we might be able to work further with them, in the event of a change in their patronage,” a spokeswoman said.

Standard Chartered Bank and KPMG also announced they were withdrawing support for the duke’s business mentoring initiative Pitch@Palace. Sources told the BBC the decisions were made before the interview.

Four Australian universities also said they would not be continuing their involvement in Pitch@Palace Australia.

Prince Andrew cancelled a planned visit to flood-hit areas of Yorkshire on Tuesday, the Sun newspaper reported.

Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal: The Newsnight Interview was shown on BBC Two on 16 November 2019 and can be seen on BBC iPlayer in the UK. The full interview can also be seen on YouTube.

Prince Andrew: Royalty has failed Epstein’s accusers, says lawyer

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The Duke of York should apologise for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, a lawyer for the convicted sex offender’s accusers has said.

Spencer Kuvin, who represents several unnamed alleged victims, said “royalty has failed them”.

He called Prince Andrew’s interview with BBC Newsnight on Saturday “sad” and “depressing”.

The prince has stood by his decision to take part, despite critics describing it as a “car crash”.

Amid the backlash, Prince Andrew is now facing renewed calls to tell US authorities about his friendship with US financier Epstein – who, at the age of 66, took his own life while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges in the US.

The duke has been facing questions over his ties to Epstein for several years.

On Monday, Mr Kuvin told the Today programme: “It was depressing that he [Prince Andrew] really did not acknowledge the breadth of his friendship with this despicable man and apologise.

“The mere fact that he was friends with a convicted sex offender and chose to continue his relationship with him – it just shows a lack of acknowledgement of the breadth of what this man [Epstein] did to these girls.”

Prince Andrew, left, and Jeffrey Epstein in New York's Central ParkPrince Andrew said this meeting with Epstein in 2010 was to end their relationship

In the interview with Newsnight, Prince Andrew – the Queen’s third child – said he never suspected Epstein’s criminal behaviour during visits to his three homes.

But Mr Kuvin said he did “not think there was any way” the prince could have avoided seeing what was going on, “with young girls being shuttled in and out of those homes”.

Mr Kuvin said the focus of Epstein’s accusers had now turned to potential co-conspirators.

It has led to questions about the role Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, may have played in procuring underage girls for the financier.

Ms Maxwell denies any wrongdoing.

Lawyer Lisa Bloom – who represents five other Epstein accusers – joined the calls for Prince Andrew to be interviewed by US authorities following his BBC interview.

She told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “I think he’s made things worse for himself in this interview and I think it’s more likely the authorities are going to want to speak to him now – and they should want to.”

Lisa Bloom
Lawyer Lisa Bloom has also questioned why Prince Andrew did not apologise about his friendship with Epstein

Gloria Allred – another lawyer, also representing one of Epstein’s accusers – told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “Now he’s been in the court of public opinion, he should testify to the FBI.”

She said she did not know how the prince “could have not known that there were underage girls” present during his visits to Epstein’s homes in New York, Palm Beach and the Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, said Prince Andrew should do whatever he can to help Epstein’s victims.

He said: “By saying what he knows of the time that he spent with his former friend, can only be the right thing to do.”

In the Newsnight interview, Prince Andrew said he will testify under oath “if push came to shove” and his lawyers advised him to.

It comes as the prince continues to face heavy criticism for the interview, which many royal commentators branded a PR disaster.

University of Huddersfield students will discuss a motion to put pressure on the duke to resign as chancellor later. In response, the university said Prince Andrew’s “enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship is a natural fit” with its work.

Prince Andrew with Virginia Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell standing behind, in early 2001 (said to have been taken at Maxwell’s London home)The duke was pictured with his accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home in 2001

In his BBC interview, Prince Andrew “categorically” denied having any sexual contact with Virginia Giuffre, known at the time as Virginia Roberts.

The first occasion, she said, took place when she was aged 17.

People close to Prince Andrew said he wanted to address the issues head-on and did so with “honesty and humility” in speaking to Newsnight.

In a lengthy interview, which UK viewers can watch in full on BBC iPlayer or on YouTube elsewhere in the world, the prince said that:

  • On the date Virginia Giuffre says he had sex with her – 10 March, 2001, he had taken his daughter to Pizza Express in Woking for a party before spending the night at home
  • He dismissed claims he was sweating profusely because he had a “peculiar medical condition” meaning he cannot sweat, caused by an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War
  • He had commissioned investigations into whether a photograph of him with Ms Giuffre had been faked, but they were inconclusive
  • Speaking out about his relationship with the financier had become almost “a mental health issue” for him
  • He would testify under oath about his relationship with Ms Giuffre if “push came to shove”, and his lawyers advised him to
  • He was unaware of an arrest warrant against Epstein when he invited the financier to Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party at Windsor Castle
  • He did not regret his friendship with Epstein because of “the opportunities I was given to learn” from him about trade and business

Maine foster children linger in state care longer than most states

Extended stays – the state’s 21-month-long median duration is the nation’s third-highest – contribute to worse outcomes for children, research suggests.

Amanda Sweden moved into her first foster home at age 9 – a yellow ranch in Bradford –  scared and wishing that she would soon reunite with her mother. Sweden said state child protection workers told her that would happen within days or weeks.

Instead, Sweden spent the rest of her childhood in foster homes, group homes or homeless. At the age of 16, she ran away from a group home twice.

“In foster care, no space is ever yours. It’s always someone else’s,” said Sweden, 28. “By the end, foster care to me was the prison, and I would rather be homeless than be there.”

Sweden, of Bangor, is not alone in spending a long time in foster care.

In Maine, the median stay in the foster care system is 21 months at the time of exiting the system, third-highest among all the states and well above the national median of 14 months, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data from 2017, the most recent year available. Maine trailed only Illinois and the District of Columbia, where the median stays are 33 months and 24 months, respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum, in New Mexico the median stay in foster care is 5.6 months, and in several other states the median time children spend is less than a year.

Research shows that extended time in foster care produces worse outcomes for children, including increased risk of behavioral and mental health problems, homelessness and poor school performance, according to Casey Family Programs, a national nonprofit think tank. Reunification with parents, when it can be done safely, is best for children.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the foster care system, prioritizes family reunification, and officials point to recent gains that have been made in reuniting families sooner or, in some cases, finding adoption placements.

But the state faces enormous challenges. Reports of child abuse and neglect have escalated, and the opioid epidemic has pushed more children into the foster care system at a time when the number of foster homes has declined.

“This is not going to be a quick fix, as our resources had become very thin,” said Chris Bicknell, executive director of New Beginnings in Lewiston, a nonprofit that serves homeless youth and helps foster children who are aging out of the system. “They have to rebuild a department that had been demolished from the inside out during the LePage administration.”

Sweden, who entered the foster care system because of her mother’s drug use and legal problems, wouldn’t share a home with her mother again until after she turned 16.

At her first foster home, she cried herself to sleep every night and kept a photo of her mother with her at all times. She remembers the hunger – the intense cravings emanating from the pit of her stomach when her foster family refused to feed her, which was often.

If she didn’t finish her dinner because she was a picky eater – and she didn’t like meatloaf and squash, among other dishes – her foster mother withheld food. Or if she broke a minor rule, like missing curfew by a few minutes or arguing with other kids, she knew that meant she would go hungry.

“We weren’t troublemakers, but any little thing we did wrong, we weren’t allowed to eat the next day,” Sweden said. “Sometimes we went days without eating and would get so hungry we would throw up bile. Then (my foster mother) would get angry with us and give us a piece of toast.”

One time at the home, Sweden saw other hungry foster children sneaking into the kitchen in the middle of the night to scrounge for food. The next morning, her foster mother had locked the kitchen cabinets.

The Bradford home was run by a now-deceased senior couple fostering several children, Sweden said, and it was one of eight foster homes or group homes she lived in before aging out of the system at age 18.

PERSISTENT PROBLEM

The length of time in foster care has been a persistent issue in Maine, spanning Democratic and Republican administrations. In 2008, Maine had the fourth-highest median time spent in foster care of all states, at 21.7 months.

Child welfare experts say limiting the amount of time in foster care is, in general, best for children.

“Longer stays in foster care increase the chance of multiple placements, which are associated with problems of attachment, poor school performance and behavioral difficulties. Those who stay in care the longest are at risk of becoming one of more than 20,000 young people who leave the foster care system each year with no achieved permanency outcome, at risk of homelessness, unemployment, pregnancy, and poor educational achievement,” according to the Seattle-based Casey Family Programs, which advocates for public policy that benefits at-risk children.

The longer a child stays in foster care, the chance of being reunified with the biological family plummets. One quarter of foster care placements that lasted 25 months or longer were reunified, compared to 54 percent who were reunified within one year, according to a 2016 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Several factors may be contributing to the lengthy stays in Maine’s foster care system. Staffing levels in the state Office of Child and Family Services dropped significantly during the LePage administration, leaving fewer caseworkers to handle the job of assessing abuse and neglect cases, placing children and evaluating whether reunification was appropriate.

The opioid crisis has afflicted thousands of Maine families, forcing intervention by public officials to protect children from abuse or neglect while their parents struggle with the disorder and seek recovery in treatment programs.

Bottlenecks can occur in the foster care system, such as in the courts and because there’s a shortage of foster parents.

Determining why Maine children have historically spent so much time in foster care is difficult because the underlying reasons may change over time, said Shawn Yardley, CEO of Community Concepts in Lewiston, a nonprofit that works closely with Maine DHHS on child welfare programs.

It’s not just the number of caseworkers but what they are working on. If cases that were once considered low-risk are elevated to middle- or high-risk, that could take more time away from busy caseworkers who otherwise would be working on a reunification, he said.

Yardley said if a child is placed in a stable foster home, caseworkers may put those situations in the “low priority” pile because they have to attend to emergency situations. That could make the reunifications take longer.

And many of the cases are judgment calls, trying to assess the stability of the parents for reunification.

“It’s not a science; it’s an art,” said Yardley, a former DHHS caseworker. “There are so many variables, and it’s so complicated, that it’s hard to draw any sweeping conclusions.”

A BALANCING ACT

Melissa Hackett, outreach associate for the Maine Children’s Alliance, said many reasons can go into why the trend is long-running, such as a lack of prevention programs or access to substance use treatment that would give parents a chance to recover and reunite with their children. Without treatment, the parents may never stabilize or take longer to get to the point where the children could return.

“Ideally, children would never get removed from the home,” Hackett said. “If they must be removed, they should be reunited with family as quickly as possible, when it’s safe.” The next best option is for foster children to be adopted, if reunification isn’t possible, Hackett said.

The median time in state care is only one of a number of metrics used to evaluate the functioning of a foster care system, such as the strength of prevention programs and what percentage of children enter foster care, which in Maine, at 3.5 percent, is about the national average. In one area – placement with relatives – Maine does better than the national average, with 42 percent of foster children placed with a relative compared to the national average of 32 percent. Casey Family Programs has reported that research shows kinship placements are superior to those with non-kin foster parents.

Also, in recent years, the percentage of Maine children who re-enter the foster care system within a year after being reunited with their parents is among the best in the nation – between 3 and 5 percent. The national average is about 12 percent.

Yardley said it’s a balancing act, weighing whether the parents are stable enough for a child to return versus the harm of longer stays in foster care.

“There’s always these competing struggles,” Yardley said. “Children do better if they are able to reunite with their family, even if there’s some dysfunction in the family.”

Sweden said she should have had a chance to reunite with her mother much sooner than age 16.

“She has always treated me like I’m her favorite person,” Sweden said.

Dorothy Sweden, Amanda’s mom, said she feels bad her daughter went hungry and had traumatic experiences in foster care. She said she had problems with drugs, and was in jail for nine months, but she improved her life and should have gotten a chance to have her children returned.

“Nobody loves a child like their mother,” Dorothy Sweden said.

Yardley said extended time in foster care can weaken the bonds between parent and child and make reunification more difficult.

Some young Mainers had relatively good experiences in foster care.

Stephanie Gerard, 27, of Canaan said when her mother died when she was 15, she was without a family and ended up in foster care. In the first two placements, there were some personality conflicts, but the third foster family was “extremely supportive” during her last two years of high school at Erskine Academy.

“They took me in with open arms. They told me that you are part of this family now and not a foster family. They treated me the same as they would their own daughter,” said Gerard, who will enter the nursing program at Kennebec Valley Community College next year.

Although long stays in the foster care system are a chronic problem, the state has an array of programs to help teens when they age out of that system. This includes programs that help pay for higher education, rental assistance and day-to-day expenses until age 21 or 22.

There are also state caseworkers devoted to helping young adults who aged out of foster care become independent, teaching them things that they might not have learned in a foster home, such as balancing a checkbook or applying for a driver’s license.

“I feel like the world opens up to you once you age out,” said Mariah Knight, 22, a Westbrook native who entered foster care at age 12.

MORE DEMANDS ON SYSTEM

While family reunification when safe is a goal of the administration of Gov. Janet Mills, many challenges persist.

DHHS is hiring 33 more caseworkers, and Todd Landry, the new director of the Office of Child and Family Services, is advocating for doubling that number. If approved, that would bring the total to 380 caseworkers. The agency is also hiring 29 additional support staff and managers.

Yet while the state is ramping up hiring, reports of suspected abuse and neglect are climbing – from 7,463 in 2016 to 11,831 in 2018.

Also, more children are in state care, increasing from 1,724 in July 2018 to 2,195 in September 2019, according to DHHS. Nationally, the number of foster children declined slightly in 2018, from 441,000 in 2017 to 437,000 in 2018, the latest year for which national statistics were available.

Child welfare experts attribute the increase in abuse reports to more awareness after the highly publicized abuse deaths of two girls, 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy of Stockton Springs in 2018 and Kendall Chick, 4, of Wiscasset in 2017.

Meanwhile, there aren’t enough foster families for placements. The number of households that have signed up to be foster families has declined from 1,621 in 2015 to 1,536 this year.

Bette Hoxie, of Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine, an Orono nonprofit, said most foster parents are good people who want to help children, but the system has become overwhelmed with demand for services. There are not enough foster families and caseworkers have too many cases, causing bottlenecks and frustration for people trying to help children who have suffered from trauma.

“Most people are in it for the right reasons,” Hoxie said of foster parents and herself, a long-time foster parent. “A very small percentage are found to have abused or neglected a child.”

Jackie Farwell, DHHS spokeswoman, said the department is working to increase the number of foster families willing to take on teenagers and other difficult placements.

“While children of all ages in out-of-home care need support, there is a particularly urgent need for families who can parent adolescents and teenagers, sibling groups with more than two children, and infants born affected by drugs or alcohol,” Farwell said in an email response to questions.

Farwell also said that, despite the increased demand, the agency is making strides.

“The increased workload within Office of Child and Family Services has challenged our staff, but we remain dedicated to the safety of the children in the department’s custody. OCFS’ data is indicative of this commitment, with 31 percent of children reaching permanency within 12 months of entering state custody as of September 2019. That number was 29 percent in September of last year. Despite the increase in the number of referrals, assessments, and children in care, OCFS has made gains in this area.”

Landry, the office director, is also proposing to revive a near-dormant family therapy initiative as a prevention program to help head off problems before they become acute.

Prince Andrew questioned about Epstein, Sex Ring, American accuser

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Prince Andrew: ‘Going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do’

The Duke of York has “categorically” denied having any sexual contact with an American woman, who says she was forced to have sex with him aged 17.

Answering questions about his links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in a BBC interview, Prince Andrew said the alleged incidents “never happened”.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince three times.

The prince said he was at home with his children on one of the occasions.

Prince Andrew, who is the Queen’s third child, has been facing questions for several months over his ties to Epstein, a 66-year-old American financier who took his own life while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Prince Andrew says he has wracked his brains but cannot recall any incident involving Virginia Roberts.

Virginia Giuffre – then called Virginia Roberts – has said she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew between 2001 – when she was 17 – and 2002, in London, New York and Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, the prince said: “It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.”

“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

He said Ms Giuffre’s account of him “profusely sweating” and “pouring with perspiration” when they danced at the club on the night in 2001 when she says they first had sex was impossible, because he had a medical condition preventing him from perspiring.

In an extraordinary interview, which you can watch in full on BBC iPlayer in the UK or YouTube elsewhere in the world, the duke said:

  • He had investigations carried out to establish whether a photograph of him with Ms Giuffre was faked, but they were inconclusive
  • He would testify under oath if “push came to shove” and his lawyers advised him to
  • He was unaware of an arrest warrant against Epstein when he invited him to Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party at Windsor Castle
  • He does not regret his friendship with Epstein because of “the opportunities I was given to learn” from him about trade and business
  • Speaking out about his relationship with the financier had become almost “a mental health issue” for him

Addressing Ms Giuffre’s claims that she had dined with the prince, danced with him at a nightclub, and went on to have sex with him at the house of Ghislaine Maxwell, a friend of the prince, in Belgravia, central London, he said “there are a number of things that are wrong with that story”.

Prince Andrew on Epstein: ‘There was no indication, absolutely no indication’

He said the date when Ms Giuffre says he had sex with her was 10 March 2001, when he had taken his daughter Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party before spending the night at home.

“Going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do,” he said. “I remember it weirdly distinctly.”

No memory

Ms Giuffre described him providing her with alcohol at a nightclub, but Prince Andrew said: “I don’t drink, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink in Tramps whenever I was there.”

On claims he was sweating, he said: “I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time,” he said, blaming it on “an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War”.

He said he had only started to be able to sweat again “in the recent past”.

Asked about a photograph of him and Ms Giuffre being taken at Ghislaine Maxwell’s house, he said he had “absolutely no memory” of it.

Prince Andrew with Virginia Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell standing behind, in early 2001 (said to have been taken at Maxwell’s London home)The duke was pictured with his accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home in 2001

“Investigations that we’ve done” have been unable to prove whether the photograph was faked, he said, “because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph”.

Prince Andrew said he did not recall going upstairs in that house, said he was not dressed as he usually would be if he was in London and added “we can’t be certain as to whether or not that’s my hand”.

“I’m at a loss to explain this particular photograph,” he said.

A thick skin

On the further accusation that he had sex with her in New York, the duke denied he was present at Epstein’s home that day, although he had been travelling in the US.

He also denied the claim he had sex with her on Epstein’s private island with a group of seven or eight other girls. “Absolutely no to all of it,” he said.

Prince Andrew said he never suspected Epstein’s criminal behaviour on his visits, describing the house as a busy place with staff like Buckingham Palace.

Footage appears to shows Prince Andrew inside Jeffrey Epstein’s New York residence in 2010

He said: “I live in an institution at Buckingham Palace which has members of staff walking around all the time and I don’t wish to appear grand but there were a lot of people who were walking around Jeffrey Epstein’s house. As far as I aware, they were staff.”

But he denied that there were large numbers of underage girls present and said Epstein “may have changed his behaviour patterns not to be obvious to me”.

Asked if he would testify under oath, the duke said: “I’m like everybody else and I will have to take all the legal advice that there was before I was to do that sort of thing. But if push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty bound to do so.”

‘The wrong thing to do’

The duke rejected the perception of him as “the party prince” in the past, and said “going to Jeffrey’s was not about partying, absolutely not”.

He said he had first met Epstein through his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell in 1999 but it was a “stretch” to say they were close friends and they saw each other “a maximum of three times a year”.

Prince Andrew acknowledged he had stayed on Epstein’s private island, visited his home in Palm Beach, Florida, and travelled on his private plane.

He said he wanted to learn more about the “international business world and so that was another reason” for going to visit the 66-year-old American financier in New York, as the prince became special representative for international trade and investment.

He invited Epstein to Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday at Windsor Castle in July 2006 but said “certainly I wasn’t aware” that a warrant had been issued in May for his arrest for sex crimes.

But the duke said he ceased contact with Epstein later that year, until 2010.

Epstein was convicted of soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution in 2008 and received an 18-month prison sentence after prosecutors forged a deal with him.

Prince Andrew, left, and Jeffrey Epstein in New York's Central ParkPrince Andrew said this meeting with Epstein in 2010 was to end their relationship

In July 2010, Epstein was released and in December, Prince Andrew went to visit him in his New York mansion.

Challenged on his decision to stay at the home of a convicted sex offender, he said: “I went there with the sole purpose of saying to him that because he had been convicted, it was inappropriate for us to be seen together.”

He stayed several days and attended a dinner party, however. “It was a convenient place to stay,” he said, but added “with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do”.

The duke denied an account by another guest that he had been seen receiving a foot massage from a Russian woman.

Asked about a picture of him and Epstein taken in Central Park in 2010, Prince Andrew said “somebody very cleverly took that photograph” but that they had not been able to “find any evidence” that Epstein had set it up.

‘A sore in the family’

The fallout over Epstein’s arrest had been “a constant sore in the family”, the prince said.

Following the allegations made against him in a 2015 deposition, Prince Andrew said the wider Royal Family “couldn’t be more supportive” and his immediate family “were at a loss”.

Prince Andrew: Epstein ‘a constant sore in the family’

The duke denied the episode had been damaging to the Queen, but said “it has to me, and it’s been a constant drip in the background that people want to know”.

He said he would like to be able to give “closure” on the issue but “I’m just as much in the dark as many people”.

He said that choosing to talk about the allegations was “almost a mental health issue to some extent for me”, adding that “it’s been nagging at my mind for a great many years”.

Meeting Epstein after his conviction was “the wrong decision and the wrong judgement” but the allegations from Ms Giuffre were “surprising, shocking and a distraction”, he said.

But he refused to entirely disavow his relationship with Epstein, saying it had “some seriously beneficial outcomes” that were unrelated to the accusations against them both.

“Do I regret the fact that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? Yes,” he said.

After interviewer Emily Maitlis challenged him, describing Epstein as a sex offender, the duke said: “Yeah, I’m sorry, I’m being polite.”

Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal: The Newsnight Interview was shown on BBC Two on 16 November 2019 and can be seen on BBC iPlayer in the UK and the full interview can also be seen on YouTube.

Pathologist Says Jeffrey Epstein Was Strangled to Death!

H15 jeffrey epstein pathologist strangled to death homocide

A forensic pathologist hired by the brother of Jeffrey Epstein says the injuries that killed the multimillionaire sex abuser were consistent with strangulation — not a death by suicide, as a New York medical examiner reported. Dr. Michael Baden says a broken bone in Epstein’s neck is “extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation.” Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell in August as he awaited trial on federal sex trafficking charges. Epstein once counted President Trump and former President Bill Clinton among his high-profile friends.

Steve King: Rape and incest ‘aided population growth’

Steve KingSteve King is known for his incendiary comments

Democrats are calling for a Republican congressman to resign after he defended abortion bans by saying that humankind might not exist but for rape or incest.

Without rape or incest “would there be any population of the world left?” nine-term lawmaker Steve King asked the Des Moines Register newspaper.

Mr King was defending anti-abortion legislation that does not make exceptions for rape or incest.

Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders soon demanded he step down.

“You are a disgrace. Resign,” Ms Gillibrand wrote on Twitter. Her remarks were quickly echoed by other 2020 Democratic hopefuls Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro.

A Republican lawmaker, Iowa state Senator Randy Feenstra, also criticised Mr King’s remarks.

“I am 100% pro-life but Steve King’s bizarre comments and behaviour diminish our message,” he wrote on Twitter.

On Wednesday, Mr King told the Des Moines Register that the Republican leadership had stopped bills he sponsored banning abortions from advancing through the US House of Representatives.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” Mr King said on Wednesday.

“Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”

Jeffrey Epstein: Two guards suspended and warden removed over death

Metropolitan Correctional CenterThe Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Epstein died

Two prison guards have been suspended and a warden temporarily reassigned at the New York City jail where Jeffrey Epstein died of suspected suicide.

It comes after the FBI opened an investigation into the death of Epstein, who was facing prosecution for sex trafficking when he was found dead.

The suspension, ordered by Attorney General William Barr, came a day after he criticised the jail’s “failure”.

The circumstance surrounding the financier’s death has raised questions.

It remains unclear why Epstein was taken off suicide watch after an attempted suicide last month. He also was supposed to have been checked in on by a guard every 30 minutes.

Before his downfall, Epstein had previously counted many prominent rich and powerful people, including Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, as friends.

What did the Department of Justice say?

In a statement, Mr Barr “directed the Bureau of Prisons to temporarily assign” warden Lamine N’Diaye to a regional office, pending a full investigation.

He will be replaced by James Petrucci, the warden of the federal prison in Otisville, New York.

Courtroom sketch of Jeffrey EpsteinImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionEpstein faced up to 45 years in jail if convicted

Two other staff members who were assigned to Epsteins’ unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) have also been placed on leave.

“Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant,” the statement added.

On Tuesday, a union official for workers at the jail told the Washington Post that one of the guards on Epstein’s unit on Saturday – when he died – was not a regular correctional officer, but rather another form of prison employee who was directed to operate as a guard due to staffing shortages.

Both guards working on his unit were working overtime shifts, but it’s unclear whether they were doing so voluntarily.

The union representing federal prison guards, the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals, said in a statement after Epstein’s death that many guards are forced to work overtime.

In a statement provided to BBC News, the organisation’s president Eric Young said prison employees who are not correctional officers – such as teachers, nurses, clerical workers – are often made to guard inmates due to a process known as “augmentation”.

What has Trump said?

President Donald Trump told reporters in New Jersey on Tuesday: “I want a full investigation, and that’s what I absolutely am demanding.

“That’s what our attorney general, our great attorney general, is doing. He’s doing a full investigation.”

He also defended his decision to retweet conspiracy theory that suggested that the Clinton family had Epstein killed.

“He’s a very highly respected conservative pundit,” Mr Trump said of comedian Terrence K Williams, who wrote the original post.

“He’s a big Trump fan. And that was a retweet. That wasn’t from me… So I think I was fine.”

Media caption‘Any co-conspirators should not rest easy’

The order comes one day after Mr Barr said he was “frankly angry to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner.”

He added: “We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.”