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FBI Readies Plan to Interview Prince Andrew, as Unedited Version of That Photo Emerges
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=52302"><span class="small">Tom Sykes and Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast</span></a>   
Sunday, 24 November 2019 09:24

Excerpt: "Speculation that American law-enforcement operatives would come knocking at Andrew's door has been rife all week, but now The Sunday Times says U.S. detectives are 'examining ways to interview the prince in Britain through the U.S. justice department, which oversees the FBI.'"

Prince Andrew. (photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha)
Prince Andrew. (photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha)

FBI Readies Plan to Interview Prince Andrew, as Unedited Version of That Photo Emerges

By Tom Sykes and Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast

24 November 19

The FBI is close to interviewing Prince Andrew over Jeffrey Epstein. Plus, the queen cancels his 60th birthday party, and how his daughter Beatrice helped set up the BBC interview.

he FBI wants to interview Prince Andrew over his connection to Jeffrey Epstein, The Sunday Times reports today.

U.S. Justice Department sources told the paper: “There’s been active discussions between the FBI and Department of Justice about interviewing Prince Andrew in relation to the Jeffrey Epstein case. If he agrees to an interview, he could potentially provide some very unique and helpful insights and make a considerable difference to the investigation.”

Speculation that American law-enforcement operatives would come knocking at Andrew’s door has been rife all week, but now The Sunday Times says U.S. detectives are “examining ways to interview the prince in Britain through the U.S. justice department, which oversees the FBI.”

The interview could be conducted on U.K. soil if Andrew agreed to it.

Could he really decline the request? He said in his public statement last week that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required,” so he seems to have comprehensively painted himself into this corner.

A source close to Andrew said he would be “happy to cooperate” with the FBI.

Dai Davies, the former head of royal protection at Scotland Yard, told The Sunday Times he believed royal protection officers should speak to the FBI, saying: “I do not think that the activities of Prince Andrew are covered by the Official Secrets Act.” He said he would be “very angry” if his officers had not come forward in such a situation.

New claims that photo of Andrew and Roberts is real

The core of Prince Andrew’s strategy, if one can dignify the floudering of the last seven days with such a name, has been to cast doubt on the veracity of the notorious picture of him with his arm around Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

In his interview, Andrew wouldn’t definitively call it a fake, but he did deny ever having met Giuffre, ever having been upstairs at Ghislaine Maxwell’s London house at all and said he didn’t “believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested.”

Unfortunately for him, the Mail on Sunday, which first published the picture, has published a new, uncropped version of the image which looks even more convincing to the untrained eye.

The complete picture reveals further detail of the interior of Maxwell’s house, including a large post-Impressionist painting hanging on the wall. The bottom corner of the picture is obscured by one of the fingers of the photographer—who Roberts says is Epstein—partially covering the lens.

The Mail’s account of how it came into possession of the picture is also convincing. Roberts, they say, was traced by the newspaper’s New York correspondent, Sharon Churcher, who was investigating reports that the FBI was planning to reopen an investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenagers by Epstein.

The Mail says that after offering the reporter coffee, she “produced the picture of Andrew from a white envelope containing a collection of photos chronicling her teenage years and travels with Epstein to New Mexico and Paris.”

The Sunday Times, meanwhile, has spoken to Michael Thomas, the freelance photographer who accompanied Churcher on the job. He photographed the original picture to copy it.

“The original was a 7x5 snap mixed up with some others taken during her time with Epstein,” said Thomas, who now lives in New Zealand. “There is no way it was faked—it was a snap, mixed up with pictures of her travels round the world with Epstein. We were looking for pictures of her with Bill Clinton or other big names, not a second-rate prince.”

“In most of them she looked like a teenager on holiday with her dad.”

And a leading image doctoring expert, Hany Farid, a professor of digital forensics and image analysis at University of California, Berkeley told The Sunday Timesthat while he couldn’t be 100% certain, the photo was almost certainly legit.

“I don’t see any obvious signs of manipulation...The lighting and pose of the head seem consistent with the body and scene suggesting that it is also unlikely that this is Prince Andrew’s head spliced onto another person’s body.

Andrew’s friends have claimed that his hands do not look like those in the image, but Farid said there were no signs of manipulation.

“You can see what appears to be Prince Andrew’s arm in the slight gap between him and the young woman, consistent with his hand on the waist. The colour and resolution of the hand on the waist is consistent with the other hand, and the contact with the waist and body poses is consistent, suggesting that this is not spliced in.”

Beatrice “in tears every day” after helping organize interview

Unsurprisingly, no-one has been keen to claim credit for setting up or authorizing the BBC Newsnight interview that led to Andrew’s downfall.

The queen’s people have pushed back against suggestions she authorized it, Fergie’s team have briefed it was all signed and sealed while she was out of the country and the Prince’s fired private secretary Amanda Thirsk has largely been left to carry the can.

Now, however, the Mail is reheating the claim that Sarah was at least in part behind the interview, assisted by Andrew’s elder daughter Princess Beatrice, who, the Mail says, was at a palace meeting three days before the broadcast with the Newsnight team.

She is now said to be mortified at her failure to protect her dad: “Beatrice has been in tears every day since the interview went out,” a source said.

Let’s call it intimate

The queen has cancelled a planned 60th birthday bash for Andrew next year, in favour of a small family dinner, The Sunday Times reports. Very small, if reports are true that William was part of the hit squad that whacked Andrew, and Meghan was horrified by Andrew’s description of sex as “a positive act for a man.”

Ride on: the queen still holds Prince Andrew close

As Prince Andrew’s world crumbled, Buckingham Palace have tried to thread a difficult needle: make it clear the queen and the family are taking decisive action, but not turn Andrew into a too-damned pariah.

Hence: all the stories that it was the queen who fired Andrew, it was the queen who ejected him and his office from Buckingham Palace, and it was the queen who fired his private secretary Amanda Thirsk, who lobbied for Andrew to give the disastrous interview to BBC Newsnight, which has led to his brutal downfall.

Yet at the end of this tumultuous week, somehow a photographer was present to photograph the queen and Andrew riding horses, accompanied by two escorts, in the grounds of Windsor Castle. The message of the photograph: Andrew is still family. Note, too, the wording of Andrew’s resignation, which only says he will “step back from public duties for the forseeable future.”

That gives Andrew and the family considerable latitude in if, when and how Andrew is rehabilitated—even though many think that is unlikely under any circumstance.

Prince Andrew sex accuser to give BBC interview

The woman who claims she was sex-trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, and who had sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17, is set to give a bombshell BBC interview. Virginia Roberts Giuffre will speak to the corporation’s Panorama program on December 2.

A spokesman for BBC, quoted in the London Evening Standard, said: “Virginia Roberts Giuffre gives her first UK interview to Panorama and reveals new details about her time with Jeffrey Epstein.”

In his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview last week, the disgraced Duke claimed not to know Giuffre. Since then he has been stripped of his royal duties, and companies and charities have rushed to get rid of him as a patron. Giuffre has said Andrew’s denial of her allegations is “appalling.”

“Meghan is very aware that Kate will be Queen; their roles are very clear. Meghan doesn’t fit the mold, while Kate was groomed for this”

Kate and Meghan don’t like being ‘pitted’ against each other

It was initially thought, in the sexist way of these things, that it was Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle at daggers drawn. Then it emerged it was Harry and William at loggerheads, and that remains the case.

The royal couples are on “different paths now,” a source told People this week. “Meghan is very aware that Kate will be Queen; their roles are very clear,” the source told People. “Meghan doesn’t fit the mold, while Kate was groomed for this.”

This source, while claiming peace and love between the women, also subtly talks up Meghan, who was a “fully formed person” when she joined the royal family, while Kate was still in college at St. Andrew’s in Scotland with William. Ouch!

“What’s challenging is when they are pitted against each other,” the source told People. “That’s been challenging to both of them. Meghan has her life, Kate has hers.”

“It’s very much still about taking care of him and putting family first,” a friend (of Meghan’s, it seems) of Meghan, Harry, and Archie.

“William and Kate toe the line, maybe because they have to, but Harry and Meghan are saying no—no to releasing the names of Archie’s godparents, no to saying where Meghan gave birth,” this very well-informed friend added. “They are trying to carve out a different sort of public life and reset the rules.”

Meghan Markle’s uncle gave a series of pictures to of her as a young girl and teenager, showing her sitting on Santa’s lap at a Californian mall, and setting the table with her cousins for Thanksgiving dinner.

Another picture shows her, again as a teenager, cuddling her mother Doria Ragland, who is expected to fly to England this week to celebrate baby Archie’s first Thanksgiving with Meghan and Prince Harry.

“You know, it's been a long time since we all celebrated the holidays together. What I remember is that it was always nice for family to get together”

Meghan and Harry, said the Mail, were now not expected to fly to Los Angeles for the holiday; on the day itself Meghan may visit a homeless shelter in London.

Joseph Johnson, Doria’s half brother who shared the photos with the Mail, and said: “You know, it's been a long time since we all celebrated the holidays together. What I remember is that it was always nice for family to get together, although it’s been maybe years since we saw Meghan and her mother.

“It was always a good time. We’ve got a little, small family—not a lot of cousins, uncles and that kind of thing that we know of. So when we got together, we were always happy to see each other.” Meghan, he said, “was always a sweetheart. Always just the sweetest, most pleasant little girl. Just a pleasant person, a joy to be around.”

This week in royal history

On November 26, 1992, it was announced that the queen had volunteered to start paying taxes on her personal income. This came at a moment of rising public anger about how much the public was funding the royal family, particularly in the aftermath of the Windsor Castle fire, and who would foot the bill for the damage.

Royal fashion watch

Kate Middleton wore a stunning Alexander McQueen black lace gown to the Royal Variety Performance this week.

Unanswered questions

They are all, inevitably, Prince Andrew-related. How long will it take for the law to catch up with him? How and where will be answer questions about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein? And does Buckingham Palace really see a route back to public life for him? your social media marketing partner
Last Updated on Sunday, 24 November 2019 11:30