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U.S. formally asks British authorities to grill Prince Andrew in Epstein sex trafficking case

Prosecutor: Prince Andrew not cooperating
The Royals Report: Prosecutor says Prince Andrew has provided "zero cooperation" in Epstein investigation 05:22

London — The U.S. Justice Department has formally requested that British authorities interview Prince Andrew in connection with the Jeffrey Epstein investigation, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to CBS News' Pat Milton on Monday.

British media first reported the request over the weekend, with one tabloid saying Queen Elizabeth's son would fight back against the request by having his legal team lay out all of its dealings with American law enforcement authorities.

Virginia Roberts Guiffre has claimed that she was introduced by Epstein to Prince Andrew and that the British royal had sex with her when she was 17 years old. Andrew has adamantly denied that accusation, but has admitted being friends with Epstein and visiting his private island. Epstein died in his New York jail cell in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

For months, U.S. federal investigators have tried to speak with Andrew. In November, the prince said in a television interview that he was willing to cooperate with investigators, but U.S. prosecutors have accused the prince of providing "zero cooperation" with the ongoing sex trafficking investigation.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre details alleged encounter with Prince Andrew 02:10

A statement provided to CBS News on Monday did make it appear as though Andrew's lawyers were likely to fight the U.S. request for him to answer questions in a formal setting, which was made under the mutual legal assistance treaty between the two countries. The treaty is only used in criminal cases.

"Discussions with the DOJ (U.S. Department of Justice) are subject to strict confidentiality rules, as set out in their own guidelines. 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," a source close to Andrew's legal team told CBS News on Monday.

His lawyers have complained about the fact that U.S. prosecutors, speaking to American media anonymously, criticized Andrew's level of cooperation. "We believe in playing straight bat," the source added in their statement to CBS News on Monday.

In the Netflix documentary series "Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich," Steve Scully, a contractor who worked for Epstein for six years, says he frequented the wealthy financier's 75-acre private island in the Caribbean, Little Saint James, and often saw young girls and prominent guests there.  

In the documentary, Scully said one of the prominent guests he saw was Prince Andrew. He said he saw the prince by the pool with a young girl. Scully, whom CBS News was unable to reach for comment, said the FBI showed him a photograph of Andrew with Giuffre.

Britain's Prince Andrew is seen in a file photo with Virginia Roberts Giuffre (center) and Ghislaine Maxwell. Rex Features

"And as soon as I saw her — that was the girl that he was kind of like grinding against at the pool. She was at that time wearing a bikini bottom. That's it," Scully said in the documentary. 

In his interview with the BBC in November, Andrew insisted that he had "no recollection of ever meeting this lady. None whatsoever," when asked about Giuffre.

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