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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

30 mins ago - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

The new digital extortion

Shoshana Gordon/Axios

If you run a hospital, a bank, a utility or a city, chances are you'll be hit with a ransomware attack. Given the choice between losing your precious data or paying up, chances are you'll pay.

Why it matters: Paying the hackers is the clear short-term answer for most organizations hit with these devastating attacks, but it's a long-term societal disaster, encouraging hackers to continue their lucrative extortion schemes.

59 mins ago - Health

CDC mask guidance sparks confusion, questions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The CDC's surprise guidance last week freeing the fully vaccinated to go maskless sowed plenty of concerns across the country— even earning the "Saturday Night Live" treatment for all the questions it spurred.

Why it matters: With plenty of Americans still unvaccinated — and without any good way to confirm who has been vaccinated — some experts worry this could put many at increased risk.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: Israel-Hamas aerial bombardments enter second week

A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave, early on May 17. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Israel and Hamas continued aerial bombardments into Monday morning, as fighting entered a second week.

Why it matters: The worst violence in the region since 2014 has resulted in the deaths of 197 people in Gaza, ruled by Hamas, and 10 in Israel. 58 Palestinian children and two Israeli children are among those killed since the aerial exchanges began on May 10, Reuters notes.

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