In a leaked video released Tuesday, ABC News anchor Amy Robach said the network killed her story on wealthy pedophile Jeffrey Epstein under pressure from the British royal family.
Robach, sitting at the ABC anchor desk but apparently speaking to colleagues off-air, was expressing frustration that the network did not air her 2015 interview with Virginia Giuffre, who said she was coerced into a sexual relationship with Epstein when she was a teenager. Among other men whom she accused of abusing her when she was 17 was Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second son.
"I’ve had this interview with Virginia [Giuffre]," she says in the video. "We would not put it on the air. First of all, I was told, ‘Who’s Jeffrey Epstein?’... Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways. We were so afraid we wouldn't be able to interview Kate and Will, so I think that had also quashed the story.”
Robach also said they had evidence implicating former President Bill Clinton, who flew on Epstein’s plane. Clinton and Prince Andrew have denied Giuffre’s accounts.
“It was unbelievable what we had,” continued Robach. “Clinton — we had everything, I tried for three years to get it on to no avail and now it’s all coming out and it’s like these new revelations.”
The video was published Tuesday morning by Project Veritas, a right-wing organization that has attempted a number of “sting” operations against media organizations. The group said the video was leaked by an “ABC insider.”
Robach also said that she believed Epstein was murdered, saying, "So, do I think he was killed? One hundred percent, yes, I do. He made his whole living blackmailing people. There were a lot of men in those planes, a lot of men who visited that island, a lot of powerful men who came into that apartment. When I heard he was found dead in his jail cell, I was like ... I knew immediately.”
In August, Epstein was found unconscious in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center — the federal jail in downtown Manhattan — and pronounced dead at a nearby hospital in what medical examiners later ruled a suicide. Following Epstein’s death, Trump promoted the conspiracy theory that the Clintons had him murdered. A pathologist hired by Epstein’s brother to perform an autopsy said last week that he believed there was evidence it was murder, not suicide.
NPR reported earlier this year on how ABC News failed to air Robach’s interview with Giuffre. Harvard law professor emeritus and Epstein defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, whose name has also come up in the investigation of Epstein, pressured the network to kill the story.
“I did not want to see [Giuffre's] credibility enhanced by ABC,” Dershowitz told NPR, stating that he believed he spoke with two producers and a lawyer within the same 24-hour period.
ABC News also declined to air the interview a few months later when Giuffre filed a defamation suit against Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been accused of recruiting girls for Epstein to abuse. Maxwell is the daughter of British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, who drowned under suspicious circumstances in 1991. Maxwell has denied any involvement in Epstein’s crimes.
Giuffre alleges that Epstein told her to have sex with Prince Andrew, hedge fund billionaire Glenn Dubin, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. A spokesperson for the Dubin family said in an emailed statement: “The Dubins were horrified by and completely unaware of Jeffrey Epstein’s unspeakable conduct. They categorically deny the allegations and have evidence disproving them.” Mitchell and Richardson have also denied Giuffre’s allegations.
“I was defeated, once again, by the very people I spoke out against, and once again, my voice was silenced,” Giuffre told NPR. “I could not believe that a formidable network like ABC had backed down and given in."
In statements following the video’s release, Robach and ABC News said that the 2015 story failed to reach their editorial standards.
"As a journalist, as the Epstein story continued to unfold last summer, I was caught in a private moment of frustration," said Robach. "I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia [Giuffre] 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 [Giuffre] said in that interview in 2015. I was referencing her allegations — not what ABC News had verified through our reporting."
ABC News released a statement saying that “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 six-part podcast that will air in the new year.”
Epstein was arrested in July on charges that he sexually abused and exploited minor girls. In addition to Clinton and Prince Andrew, Epstein also had associated with Donald Trump. Records show that Trump flew on Epstein’s private jet on occasion, and they were photographed together at social events.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” said Trump in a 2002 New York magazine profile of Epstein. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was U.S. attorney in Miami when Epstein faced charges in 2007 for, as the Miami Herald put it in its award-winning reporting on the case, “assembling a large, cult-like network of underage girls — with the help of young female recruiters — to coerce into having sex acts behind the walls of his opulent waterfront mansion as often as three times a day.” Acosta, who negotiated what has been criticized as an inappropriately lenient plea deal in that case, resigned after Epstein’s arrest this year.
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