Prince Andrew is caught up in a battle with US authorities after they made an accusation against him, say he is refusing to cooperate with the investigation into his disgraced friend Jeffrey Epstein. 

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, said the Duke of York was trying to “falsely portray himself to the public” after he publicly insisted he had offered to help “at least three times” and was being treated at a “lower standard” than other citizens.

On Monday, Prince Andrew’s legal team at Blackfords LLP issued an extraordinary statement refuting claims that the Queen’s second son had offered “zero co-operation” and a “wall of silence” to investigators. 

His lawyers, Clare Montgomery QC and Stephen Ferguson, said so far they had chosen not to speak out about any conversations with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) but would now do so in light of “misleading media briefings.”

Prince Andrew’s team says the DOJ had been “actively investigating” Epstein for 16 years “yet the first time they requested the Duke’s help was on 2nd January 2020.”

“The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ. Unfortunately, the DOJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the Duke has offered zero co-operation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered,” they said.

The lawyers then claimed that the Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York is making “inaccurate” statements after he said there had been a “wall of silence” from Prince Andrew back in January.

But it didn’t take long for Mr Berman to fire back at the Duke of York’s “false” claims.

“Today, Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate with an ongoing federal criminal investigation into sex trafficking and related offenses committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates, even though the Prince has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview, and nearly four months ago informed us unequivocally – through the very same counsel who issued today’s release – that he would not come in for such an interview,” he said in a statement released by his office.

“If Prince Andrew is, in fact, serious about cooperating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open, and we await word of when we should expect him.”

In early March, Mr Berman had said the Prince “shut the door” on US authorities.

“These statements were inaccurate, and they should not have been made,” the lawyers said.

“It is a matter of regret that the DOJ has seen fit to breach its own rules of confidentiality, not least as they are designed to encourage witness co-operation.

“Far from our client acting above the law, as has been implied by press briefings in the US, he is being treated by a lower standard than might reasonably be expected for any other citizen.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.