I warned Prince Andrew it was bad idea to agree to Newsnight interview

I warned Prince Andrew it was a bad idea to agree to the infamous Newsnight interview, Duke of York’s lawyer pal says

  • Lawyer Paul Tweed said he advised against speaking to BBC about Epstein links
  • He also told senior aide about Duke of York: ‘Is he mad? No way, no, no, no’
  • READ MORE HERE: Prince Andrew ‘wants to do another TV interview’ 

Prince Andrew was warned it was a ‘bad idea’ for him to discuss his links with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein on Newsnight, a friend revealed yesterday.

Lawyer Paul Tweed said he advised the Duke of York against speaking to the BBC about his links with the convicted paedophile, and then told a senior aide: ‘Is he mad? No way, no, no, no.’

He said Andrew ignored his advice and ‘made his mind up’ to tell his version of events to the broadcaster.

The disastrous 2019 interview and its fallout effectively ended Andrew’s role in public life. 

The duke admitted he had visited Epstein shortly after the billionaire financier’s release from jail for soliciting underage sex, and said that was ‘the wrong decision’.

Old friends: Lawyer Paul Tweed with the Duke of York

Disastrous: Emily Maitlis quizzes Prince Andrew during the now-infamous BBC Newsnight interview

He said he did not regret his association with Epstein as it had ‘some seriously beneficial outcomes’ and gave no apology to Epstein’s victims.

The interview is now at the centre of a two-part Channel 4 documentary, Andrew: The Problem Prince.

The programme includes insights from the Newsnight team which filmed the interview, journalist Emily Maitlis and producer Sam McAlister, lawyers for one of Epstein’s victims, and Andrew’s friends.

Mr Tweed, a defamation lawyer and long-standing friend of the duke, said he was told about plans for the interview a month before it was filmed.

Speaking to Andrew as a friend, he said: ‘Look, that would not be a good idea sir.’ He then got a call from Andrew’s then-chief of staff Amanda Thirsk, saying the duke had decided to do the interview. 

Mr Tweed told the Channel 4 documentary: ‘I said, ‘Is he mad? No way, no, no, no. That’s a bad idea. You should not do it’.

‘Amanda just said, ‘Look, Paul, I’ve got to go. I’ll call you later’. The phone was put down abruptly and that was it.

‘So obviously the duke, for better or for worse, had made his mind up.

READ MORE: ‘He is not plugged into the same reality as the rest of us’: Prince Andrew’s overconfidence led him to agree to notorious Newsnight interview, bombshell new documentary claims 

‘He was going to do it. The duke made that decision on his own against most advice.’

Mr Tweed said Andrew was ‘a very decent, straightforward individual’ but believed he had been ‘very naïve’ in his dealings with Epstein. 

He said the relationship was ‘totally ill-judged, totally inappropriate’ and he believed Epstein had set up a notorious photo of himself with the duke in New York’s Central Park in 2010.

Epstein had served an 18-month sentence for soliciting sex from an underage girl in Florida, and had been released from prison just months before Andrew visited him in New York. 

He was later found dead in his prison cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Mr Tweed, who has represented Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in civil litigation, said the effect of the Newsnight interview on the duke and his family had been ‘horrendous’ but believed he could return to public life, saying: ‘I would never say never in any case.’

In the Newsnight interview, Andrew denied claims from one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts, that she was trafficked to have sex with him in 2001, when she was 17. 

He told Ms Maitlis he did not remember meeting Ms Roberts, and he was at a birthday party at a Pizza Express in Woking on the day she said they met.

He also denied her recollection of him sweating heavily as they danced at a nightclub in central London, and insisted he had been unable to sweat after an ‘adrenaline overdose’ during the Falklands War. 

Andrew paid a reported £9.6million settlement to Ms Roberts after she launched a civil lawsuit in New York accusing him of sexual abuse, although he continues to deny any wrongdoing.

Ms Roberts’ lawyer Sigrid McCawley said the Newsnight interview gave her a ‘roadmap to tear him apart’ in the civil claim.

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