Prince Andrew’s legal team have broken their silence because they want to put the record straight on what they describe as “misleading media briefings” and “inaccurate” statements coming from prosecutors in America.
Overnight, a source close to the team had said they believe in “playing straight bat”, but it’s clear from their latest statement that they don’t believe their counterparts in America are playing by the same rules.
And that’s why they have decided to fight back.
Since the start of this year, prosecutors have been claiming that Prince Andrew turned down their requests to speak to them about Jeffrey Epstein.
But his legal team say this isn’t true, and said in a statement: “The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ [Department of Justice].”
Even more damning is their suggestion that the DOJ has broken its own rules on keeping these matters confidential to get attention.
“In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered,” they said.
They insist their frustration at the apparent leaks from America are not about getting special treatment because of Prince Andrew’s public profile or the fact he’s a member of the Royal Family, but this is about keeping the legal system fair.
They said: “We asked the DOJ to confirm that our co-operation and any interview arrangements would remain confidential, in accordance with the ordinary rules that apply to voluntary co-operation with the DOJ.
“We were given an unequivocal assurance that our discussions and the interview process would remain confidential.”
The decision to release this statement will not have been taken lightly.
The Duke of York and the Royal Family have been keen to move on from this ongoing saga.
Statements before have made it very clear that Prince Andrew categorically denies any wrongdoing in relation to his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
He said at the end of last year that he would speak to any appropriate law enforcement agencies in America.
But never before have we had a straight answer to the ongoing question of whether he has cooperated with authorities over in the States.
Now you get the sense that his legal team have decided enough is enough and, stating publicly on the record that he has offered to speak as a witness, is the only way to shut down the speculation.