Nov 5, 2019

Anchor caught on tape claiming ABC News suppressed Epstein story

A protest group called "Hot Mess" holds up signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of a New York federal courthouse. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

ABC News anchor Amy Robach was caught on a hot mic claiming that her network suppressed a bombshell sex trafficking story about Jeffrey Epstein three years ago, according to a video published by right-wing activist group Project Veritas.

The big picture: Project Veritas has been criticized for producing deceptively edited videos that target mainstream media and liberal organizations. However, Robach did not deny the accuracy of the video and said in a statement that she was "caught in a private moment of frustration" after an interview she conducted with one of Epstein's accusers was not aired due to a lack of "sufficient corroborating evidence."

What they're saying:

  • Robach: "As a journalist, as the Epstein story continued to unfold last summer, I was caught in a private moment of frustration. I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn't air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC's editorial standards about her allegations. My comments about Prince Andrew and her allegation that she had seen Bill Clinton on Epstein's private island were in reference to what Virginia Roberts said in that interview in 2015. I was referencing her allegations — not what ABC News had verified through our reporting. The interview itself, while I was disappointed that it didn't air, didn't meet our standards. In the years since no one ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story."
  • ABC News: "At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story. Ever since we've had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it. That work has led to a two-hour documentary and 6-part podcast that will air in the new year."

Between the lines: The Robach video comes in the wake of claims by journalist Ronan Farrow that NBC News suppressed his reporting on allegations of sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein, a powerful film mogul with extensive media connections. NBC News has denied Farrow's allegations.

Go deeper: NBC News president calls Farrow cover-up allegations a "smear" in staff memo

Editor's note: NBC is an investor in Axios and Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, is a member of the Axios board of directors.

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British police defend decision not to investigate Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew in Bangkok on Nov. 3, 2019. Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP via Getty Images

London's Metropolitan Police says it did not have the "appropriate authority" to investigate a 2015 claim from one of Jeffrey Epstein's accusers that she had sex with Prince Andrew while allegedly trafficked by Epstein, AP reports.

Driving the news: The force concluded in 2016 that it "was the wrong agency to investigate," London's Metropolitan Police Commander Alex Murray said on Thursday. Andrew stepped away from his royal duties last week, following a BBC interview in which he defended his friendship with Epstein.

Go deeperArrowNov 28, 2019

Two prison guards on duty during Jeffrey Epstein's death charged

The Manhattan Correctional Center where the Jeffrey Epstein was found dead. Photo: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Two federal prison guards, who were on duty at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in mid-August when financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead, were charged on Tuesday in connection with their alleged failure to properly check on Epstein as ordered.

Why it matters: These are the first charges to emerge from a criminal inquiry into Epstein's death, which has prompted investigations and the removal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Prince Andrew steps down from royal duties "for foreseeable future"

Prince Andrew. Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/ via Getty Images

Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, announced Wednesday in a statement that Queen Elizabeth gave him permission to step away from his royal duties, saying "circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein [have] become a major disruption to my family's work."

The big picture: The move comes as the duke has faced growing backlash after a recent BBC interview in which he answered questions for the first time about his friendship with Epstein. He also denied ever having a sexual relationship with one of Epstein’s accusers, as she has claimed.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019