Prince Andrew has offered a rare response to claims that he has provided no cooperation so far in the Jeffrey Epstein trial.
Just days after it was revealed he had been summoned to the US by Department of Justice, the royal has hit back at previous allegations that he had been refusing to cooperate, with his legal team releasing a long statement in response.
And not only is the statement extremely rare, following months of silence from the royal on the matter, but it's also claimed that something entirely different has been happening behind the scenes.
In the statement, Andrew's lawyers claim he has tried to offer assistance to the Department of Justice three times this year, after the authority first requested his help at the beginning of January.
They also allege that the Department "has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the Duke has offered zero co-operation".
"To date, we have chosen not to make any public statement regarding our discussions with the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Our commitment to confidentiality is not only regarded as best practice in the UK but is also intended to respect the DOJ's commitment to confidentiality, as set out in its own rules as they apply to discussions with potential witnesses.
"However, in view of misleading media briefings, we owe it to our client to issue this clarifying statement."
The statement continued: "As the public record indicates the DOJ [Department of Justice] has been actively investigating Mr Epstein and other targets for more than 16 years, yet the first time they requested the Duke's help was on 2nd January 2020.
"Importantly, the DOJ advised us that the Duke is not and has never been a 'target' of their criminal investigations into Epstein and that they sought his confidential, voluntary cooperation."
The statement describes the course of the discussions with the DOJ, claiming that their co-operation was to remain confidential.
"The Duke of York 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 co-operation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered," the statement read.
Prince Andrew's statement comes after a source revealed to The Sun that the Duke was moving "into the realms of a criminal investigation".
"The [Department of Justice] does not make a request of this nature lightly, especially one involving a senior member of the British royal family," they explained.
"It puts the UK government in a very difficult position - and the Duke of York even even more so."
In response to Andrew's latest statement, US attorney Geoffrey Berman responded by saying the royal had declined the department's request for an interview.
His statement also claims that four months ago, Andrew informed them through the same counsel who issued his latest statement that he would not come in for an interview.
The attorney explained: "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."
Earlier this year, US lawyer Geoffrey Berman told the New York Times Andrew had provided "zero cooperation" in the case against Epstein thus far.
WATCH: Prince Andrew denies allegations made against him by Virginia Roberts. Story continues...
The last time Andrew properly spoke up about his involvement in the case, which also includes allegations he himself had sex with an underage woman, the Prince delivered an explosive interview with the BBC, which was labelled a "car crash".
In the interview with journalist Emily Maitlis, the Prince spoke of the accusations made against him by the woman.
"It didn't happen," Prince Andrew said.
"I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."
In the interview, the Prince also relayed some very specific facts, which came across as rather unusual to many, including that he had taken Princess Beatrice to a pizza restaurant around the time he had been accused of being out in London with the woman.
He also said her claims that he was profusely sweating could not be true, because he had a pre-existing medical condition that made it " almost impossible" to sweat.