BBC apologises for 'shocking' interview with Epstein lawyer moments after Ghislaine Maxwell verdict

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  • Jeffrey Epstein
    American financier
  • Ghislaine Maxwell
    Ghislaine Maxwell
    Socialite
  • Alan Dershowitz
    American lawyer, author
  • Virginia Giuffre
    Alleged victim of the underage sex trafficking ring operated by Jeffrey Epstein

Watch: Ghislaine Maxwell trial 'weakens case against Prince Andrew' says Alan Dershowitz

The BBC has apologised for interviewing Jeffrey Epstein's former lawyer moments after Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of trafficking young girls.

Maxwell was found guilty of helping to entice vulnerable teenagers to the late Epstein’s various properties for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.

Alan Dershowitz, who represented convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, appeared on the BBC News channel on Wednesday night following the verdict.

Virginia Giuffre has previously claimed she was trafficked by Epstein and forced as a 17-year-old minor to have sex with Dershowitz, Prince Andrew, and other men.

Dershowitz and Prince Andrew have repeatedly denied the allegations. In May, Dershowitz said he was suing Netflix for $80m over his portrayal in its Filthy Rich series about Epstein in which they aired Giuffre's allegations. Dershowitz is also counter-suing Giuffre.

Friend of Presidents, the ultra-rich and the elite of Wall Street's bankers Jeff Epstein remains an enigma to many in the world of finance despite handling portfolios estimated to be worth over $15 billion.He is seen here at left in conversation with Professor Alan Dershowitz one of America's best-known legal experts. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)
The late Jeffrey Epstein and Alan Dershowitz. (Getty)

Dershowitz was introduced as a “constitutional lawyer” on the BBC News channel with no mention he had been friends with Epstein for decades.

He used his time to attack Giuffre without being challenged despite ongoing legal proceedings between her and the two men.

The BBC has admitted the interview "did not meet its editorial standards".

Dershowitz, a Harvard University professor emeritus, claimed she wasn’t used as a witness in the Maxwell trial because “the government didn’t believe she was telling the truth”.

He added: “In fact... it weakens the case against Prince Andrew considerably because the government was very selective in who it used.

“It used only witnesses it said were credible and it deliberately didn’t use the main witness, the woman who started the whole investigation - Virginia Giuffre - because they ultimately didn’t believe she was telling the truth and they didn’t believe a jury would believe her and they were right in doing so.”

In an interview with the Miami Herald earlier this month, Giuffre's lawyer, David Boies, acknowledged he didn't understand why his client had not been called as a witness. But he said the government had not given a reason why Giuffre was not on the witness list.

NEW YORK CITY, NY - MARCH 15: Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend de Grisogono Sponsors The 2005 Wall Street Concert Series Benefitting Wall Street Rising, with a Performance by Rod Stewart at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. (Getty)

The BBC was criticised for the interview, with human rights barrister Adam Wagner describing it as a “huge error”.

Labour MP Nadia Whittome added: “Alan Dershowitz, who was accused of the same crimes as Prince Andrew, is on the BBC trying to silence victims following Ghislaine Maxwell’s conviction.

“I can’t believe this needs to be said but the BBC should not give a platform to people accused of child sexual abuse.”

Read more:

What Ghislaine Maxwell's conviction in Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking trial means for Prince Andrew

Ghislaine Maxwell’s family launch appeal after sex abuse verdict

Ghislaine Maxwell’s new prison ‘will be like Disneyland’ compared to New York cell, expert says

Coroner and human rights lawyer Caoilfhionn Gallagher was unhappy Dershowitz was portrayed “as if he’s a neutral expert”.

She tweeted: “Shocked. Utterly bizarre decision and does the audience a disservice.”

Women's Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer was also upset with the segment, adding: “BBC News going straight to Alan Dershowitz to comment on Maxwell verdict without context and allowing him to attack Virginia Giuffre.”

The BBC said in a statement on Thursday: "The interview with Alan Dershowitz after the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict did not meet the BBC’s editorial standards, as Mr Dershowitz was not a suitable person to interview as an impartial analyst, and we did not make the relevant background clear to our audience. 

"We will look into how this happened."

Watch: Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of sex trafficking young girls

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