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Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The Justice Department has formally requested an interview with Prince Andrew as part of its criminal investigation into the alleged sex trafficking ring operated by Jeffrey Epstein, according to multiple reports.

Why it matters: Federal prosecutors and the FBI say they have contacted Prince Andrew's lawyer several times asking for information about his relationship with Epstein, and they claimed in March that the Duke of York has "completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation."

  • Prince Andrew's legal team fired back on Monday and claimed that he "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 cooperation," Prince Andrew's legal team said in a statement. "In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered."

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman released the following statement Monday after pushback from Prince Andrew's legal team:

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.
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.

The big picture: Berman would not comment on whether the office was corresponding with the U.K. for a mutual legal assistance treaty request, which would be similar to a subpoena.

  • During an investigation or prosecution of criminal offenses, countries can ask for assistance from another country through this request.
  • Prince Andrew's legal team told CNN Monday that the DOJ has informed them he "is not and has never been a 'target' of their criminal investigations into Epstein" and said that "any pursuit of an application for mutual legal assistance would be disappointing."

Background: During an interview with the BBC in November, Andrew denied having a sexual relationship with one of Epstein’s accusers, as she has claimed. He stepped away from royal duties last year after the allegations.

Go deeper

31 mins ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.

Mitt Romney calls Ray Dalio's China investments a "sad moral lapse"

Sen. Mitt Romney walks to a Senate Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 7. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday criticized billionaire Ray Dalio's investments in China, writing in a tweet that "his feigned ignorance of China's horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse."

Driving the news: Romney's comments come after Dalio's firm, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, raised $1.3 billion in November for a new private fund in China, Bloomberg reports.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

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