Defamation lawyer ‘warned Andrew not to do disastrous Newsnight interview’

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A defamation lawyer has told a documentary he urged the Duke of York not to speak to the BBC before his disastrous Newsnight interview over his links to paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Paul Tweed said he warned the royal’s then-chief of staff Amanda Thirsk the interview was a “bad idea” two days prior to Andrew sitting down with Emily Maitlis in November 2019.

Mr Tweed said Ms Thirsk then “abruptly” put the phone down on him.

The lawyer told Channel 4’s Andrew – The Problem Prince he also wanted to know why nobody put a stop to the interview.

“At the back of my mind I thought: ‘Somebody’s going to stop this’… Well, what do you do?” he said.

Mr Tweed said his appearance on the two-part documentary was “with the knowledge and agreement of the family”.

He told Channel 4 Andrew’s association with Epstein was “totally ill-judged, totally inappropriate” – adding that he was “very naive”.

Duke of York
The Duke of York (Neil Hall/PA)

“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 gotta go. I’ll call you later.’

“The phone was put down abruptly and that was it.”

Mr Tweed said the impact of the interview on Andrew and his family was “horrendous”, but believed there was a way back for him in public life.

“What is the mechanism to cope with that?” he told the documentary.

“I don’t know. It’s an horrendously difficult position, horrendous. The actual fact of it, the impact of it.

“I have never ceased to be surprised, when you think it’s all over, it’s a hopeless situation – something’s happened.

“And you can turn it round because facts come out or there are outside developments that sometimes can have a bearing. I would never say never in any case.”

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