London – Britain’s Prince Andrew has rejected renewed suggestions he may have been involved in the alleged sex crimes of his one-time friend, Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew says in a statement released by Buckingham Palace that he “has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes. His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent.”
The statement was released after the Mail on Sunday newspaper obtained a Dec. 6, 2010, video showing Andrew inside Epstein’s New York home waving goodbye to a young woman. The video was recorded after Epstein’s 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution involving a minor.
Epstein, 66, killed himself, New York City’s chief medical examiner ruled Friday.
The ruling came after nearly a week of speculation that the financier faced with sex trafficking and conspiracy charges hanged himself in his jail cell.
Epstein was found dead in the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, touching off outrage that such a high-profile prisoner could have gone unwatched at the Manhattan federal lockup where infamous inmates Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff came and went without incident.
The medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, said in a statement that she made the suicide determination “after careful review of all investigative information, including complete autopsy findings.”
Sampson’s announcement came as a Justice Department official told The Associated Press some prison staffers believed to have relevant information aren’t cooperating with investigators.
Corrections officers may have falsified reports saying they checked on Epstein as required by protocol, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CBS News this week.
A guard in Epstein’s unit was working a fifth straight day of overtime and another guard was working mandatory overtime, several people familiar with the matter told the Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the lacked authorization to publicly discuss the investigation.
Epstein’s lawyers said they were “not satisfied” with Sampson’s conclusions and that they would conduct their own investigation, including seeking to obtain any video of the area around Epstein’s cell from the time leading to his death.
Epstein, arrested July 6 and jailed since, was found dead with a bedsheet around his neck less than 24 hours after more than 2,000 pages of documents were made public from a since-settled lawsuit against an ex-girlfriend alleged to be his aide-de-camp. The documents included graphic allegations against Epstein and a 2016 deposition in which he refused to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.
At the time of Epstein’s death, the Bureau of Prisons said he had apparently killed himself. But that did not squelch conspiracy theories, including one retweeted by President Trump that speculated Epstein was murdered.
What emerged in the days that followed, however, was not evidence of a sinister plot, but early signs that prison staff failed to properly secure and monitor a prisoner, leading to ferocious criticism by everyone from Attorney General William Barr to Epstein’s lawyers.