ABC News admitted Tuesday sitting on an explosive interview implicating billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, shortly after Project Veritas posted a leaked video of anchor Amy Robach saying network higher-ups killed the story three years ago.
Ms. Robach, who spoke on a live mic but apparently did not realize she was being filmed, said that her interview with Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre also included allegations against former President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew, and attorney Alan Dershowitz, who had represented Epstein in 2008.
All three have denied any wrongdoing. Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was found dead Aug. 10 in his jail cell in New York City, which was ruled a suicide.
“I’ve had the story for three years. I’ve had this interview with Virginia Roberts, we would not put it on the air. First of all, I was told ‘who’s Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is, this is a stupid story,’” said Ms. Robach in a discussion with her producer.
“Then the Palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways,” she said, referring to the British Royal Family. “We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate and Will, that also quashed the story.”
In a Tuesday statement, ABC News said that the story failed to meet its standards.
“At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story,” said the statement posted by Project Veritas. “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 6-part podcast that will air in the new year.”
In a separate statement released Tuesday, Ms. Robach said that “as the Epstein story continued to unfold last summer, I was caught in a private moment of frustration.”
“I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn’t air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations,” said Ms. Robach.
She continued: “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 Roberts said in that interview in 2015. I was referencing her allegations—not what ABC News had verified through our reporting. The interview itself, while I was disappointed it didn’t air, didn’t meet our standards.”
Ms. Robach also said that ABC had never told her to drop the story. “In the years since no one ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffery Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story.”
In the video leaked by what Project Veritas president James O’Keefe called an “ABC insider,” however, Ms. Robach said she “had it all three years ago.”
“She [Giuffre] told me everything. She had pictures, she had everything,” said Ms. Robach on the leaked video. “She was in hiding for 12 years. We convinced her to come out. We convinced her to talk to us. It was unbelievable what we had—Clinton, we had everything.”
Her frustration with the network was apparently driven by international media coverage of Epstein’s arrest in July on federal sex-trafficking charges of minors in Florida and New York.
“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, and I freaking had all of it,” Ms. Robach said. “I am so pissed right now. Every day I get more and more pissed because I’m just like, oh my God, what we had was unreal. Other women backing it up.”
She added that, “Brad Edwards, the attorney, three years ago, saying, there will come a day when we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known. I had it all three years ago.”
Mr. O’Keefe posted a video expressing skepticism about ABC’s explanation on why the story was spiked.
“This sounds like a cover-your-ass lawyer-speak response, no big surprise there, but more importantly no real explanation of why this bombshell interview by Amy Robach with Virginia Roberts never aired,” said Mr. O’Keefe.