U.S. law enforcement hopes to talk with Prince Andrew

LONDON — Multiple senior U.S. law enforcement officials told NBC News that they are hoping to speak with Prince Andrew after he indicated last week that he would be willing to help with any investigation related to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The investigation into the late, disgraced financier remains active and now that Andrew has said he'll talk, investigators are hoping to speak with him, the officials said.

Spokespeople for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan and the FBI declined to comment.

Andrew announced Wednesday that he was stepping away from public duties “for the foreseeable future” because of the controversy surrounding his past friendship with Epstein. Buckingham Palace said in a statement that this was his "personal decision."

The Duke of York's announcement came days after he discussed his relationship with Epstein in a rare TV interview that ended up only heightening public attention to the matter.

In the interview, Andrew — who said he hadn't spoken to Epstein since 2010 — denied allegations he had sex with a woman who claims she was trafficked by Epstein when she was 17. The prince said he had no recollection of ever meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre and that he was at a pizza restaurant with his daughter on the day in 2001 she alleged they had the sexual encounter.

The BBC is set to air an interview with Giuffre next Monday.

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Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York visits the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to open the new Stanmore Building, in London, Britain March 21, 2019. David Mirzoeff/ Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Duke of York visits the Chelsea Flower Show in London, Britain May 20, 2019. Yui Mok/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (L) and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 9, 2019. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Dame Vivian Hunt and Prince Andrew, Duke of York arrive through the East Gallery during the State Banquet, on day one of the U.S. President's Donald Trump state visit, at Buckingham Palace, London, Britain, June 3, 2019. Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Prince Andrew, Duke of York attends the semi-final match between Noval Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov on centre court at The Wimbledon Championships at Wimbledon on July 4, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York meets patient Brenda Tilbury during a visit the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to open the new Stanmore Building, in London, Britain March 21, 2019. David Mirzoeff/ Pool via REUTERS
ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 18: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Andrew, Duke of York & Queen Elizabeth II watch the horses in the parade ring as they attend Day 2 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
The Duke of York (left) and the Duke of Cambridge during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Prince Andrew, Duke of York    attends the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 09, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/- WPA Pool/Getty Images)
ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: (L-R) Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Harry attend day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)
ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Prince Andrew, Duke of York attends Day 4 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 24: (CHINA OUT) Prince Andrew, Duke of York speaks during the 10th anniversary of Harrow International School Beijing on October 24, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 29: Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) meets with Duke of York Prince Andrew in Istanbul, Turkey on November 29, 2014. (Photo by Turkish Foreign Ministry/Cengiz Oguz Gumrukcu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 29: Duke of York Prince Andrew attends to the Turkish-British Tatli Dil (mellifluence) Forum in Istanbul, Turkey on November 29, 2014. (Photo by Ahmet Dumanli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and the Duke of York are seen at Westminster Abbey as part of their state visit in London, Britain June 3, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Andrew has spoken briefly about claims he had sex with an underage girl. Giving a speech in Davos the Duke of York reiterated his denials of the allegations.
ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Queen Elizabeth ll, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew, Duke of York arrive in an open carriage to attend Ladies Day at Royal Ascot on June 19, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince Andrew, the Duke of York (L) speak with John Maynard, 80, from Stoke on Trent via the internet on a Nominet Trust display, during a reception to recognise the British technology sector at Buckingham Palace in central London on June 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO/POOL/ STEVE PARSONS (Photo credit should read Steve Parsons/AFP/Getty Images)
Horse Racing - Royal Ascot - Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Britain - June 22, 2019 Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York arrive at Ascot REUTERS/Toby Melville
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Instead of drawing a line under the allegations, Andrew's interview with the BBC dominated headlines and even threatened to make the monarchy a political issue in the midst of a polarized election campaign.

A YouGov poll taken after the broadcast showed that only 6 percent of the more than 1,400 respondents believed Andrew’s explanations about his friendship with Epstein, and 47 percent thought it damaged the monarchy.

Andrew has been panned for his defense of his friendship with Epstein, who died by suicide Aug. 10, and what was seen by some as a failure to show any sympathy for the victims.

In Wednesday's statement, he said, "I deeply sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure."

In another sign that the monarchy may be distancing itself from Andrew, local media reported that the queen canceled a 60th birthday party planned to celebrate his charity work next year. The palace declined to comment on the report.

Andrew serves as a patron, or royal supporter, of more than 230 charities. Many of them have cut their ties with him since the interview, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The future of his Pitch@Palace initiative, which helps entrepreneurs find support and funding, was also in the air. Buckingham Palace says Pitch@Palace will now take place outside of Buckingham Palace, and at least one sponsor deserted the program even before the TV interview.

Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, was abroad on a trip to New Zealand last week when Andrew issued his unprecedented statement. He headed back to the United Kingdom from the Solomon Islands on Monday.

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