NEW YORK — The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan said on Monday that Britain’s Prince Andrew has “shut the door” on helping an investigation into allegations of sex trafficking by financier Jeffrey Epstein and his associates.
It was the second time in less than two months that the prosecutor, Geoffrey S. Berman, has taken the unusual step of publicly pointing out that Andrew has refused to cooperate with the inquiry despite saying he was willing to.
“Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation,” Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said in response to a question at a news conference on an unrelated matter on Monday. Berman added that his office was “considering its options,” without elaborating.
In January, responding to a similar question, Berman had said that Andrew had provided “zero cooperation” in the investigation.
Late last year, Prince Andrew gave a disastrous television interview to the British Broadcasting Corp. about his long relationship with Epstein. The interview shocked many viewers, who said that Andrew’s denials of sexual misconduct were unpersuasive and that he seemed to have little sympathy for Epstein’s victims.
After the interview, Andrew abruptly announced that he was stepping back from public life, apparently concerned that his televised appearance could threaten the reputation and charitable work of the entire British royal family.
In a public statement at the time, the prince also said, “Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
But that help, Berman has now said twice, has not yet been forthcoming.
As a practical matter, there may be little Berman can do.
Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The British Embassy in Washington also declined to comment on what a spokeswoman said was an continuing legal process.
Epstein hanged himself last summer at the federal jail in Manhattan, where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors had accused him of sexually exploiting dozens of women and girls in New York and Florida.
Andrew, 59, said in his television interview that he cannot “shed light” on Epstein’s activities for U.S. law enforcement officers because the two had spent only a few days at a time together. He also said that he would have to consult with his lawyers in advance of testifying under oath about his relationship with Epstein.