“I’ve had the story for three years. I’ve had this interview with Virginia Roberts,” a woman who says she was abused by Epstein when she was a minor, Robach said in the “hot mic” moment in August.
“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.'”
Robach said the British royal family found out about the investigation. Prince Andrew, at one time the sixth in line to the throne, was a longtime Epstein associate who was accused by Roberts of raping her. “The palace … threatened us a million different ways,” Robach said.
ABC executives were fearful that if the investigation was allowed to move forward, the royal family would bar access to Prince William and Kate Middleton, Robach said. “That also quashed the story,” she said.
— James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) November 5, 2019
High-profile attorney Alan Dershowitz, who has also faced accusations in the Epstein saga, was also implicated in Roberts’s story.
“She told me everything. She had pictures. She had everything. She was in hiding for 12 years. We convinced her to come out. We convinced her to talk to us,” the ABC anchor said.
“It was unbelievable what we had. [Bill] Clinton, we had everything. I tried for three years to get it on to no avail, and it’s like these new revelations, and I freaking had all of it.”
“I’m so [expletive] right now,” Robach said.
Roberts’s attorney Brad Edwards said around the time the investigation was complete that, “‘There will come a day we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known,'” Robach continued. “And I had it all three years ago.”
In a statement released through ABC on Tuesday, Robach said: “As a journalist, 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.”
The allegations against Prince Andrew and President Bill Clinton weren’t verified by ABC, Robach said. “In the years since no one has ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein,” she added.
ABC said in a statement: “At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story. Ever since we’ve had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it.”
ABC wasn’t the only outlet to hold back stories about Epstein’s alleged crimes.
Two girls said they were abused by Epstein; one was also abused by Epstein’s longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell, they said.
The girls were interviewed by Vanity Fair but the story the outlet published on Epstein included no mention of the girls. Before it was published, Epstein himself had shown up at the Vanity Fair offices and spoken to then-editor-in-chief Graydon Carter, reported NPR.
“He was torturing Graydon,” said John Connolly, a Vanity Fair contributing editor at the time. Epstein pressed Carter on the story, later repeatedly calling him. Carter later received a severed head of a dead cat and a bullet at his apartment.
Carter told The Hollywood Reporter that the magazine didn’t have three sources, which it considered necessary, later telling NPR that Vicky Ward, the reporter, didn’t have three sources that met the outlet’s “legal threshold.”
Annie and Maria Farmer, and their mother, Janice Farmer, told NPR they all agreed to go on the record regarding the accusations. “We hoped the story would put people on notice and they would be stopped from abusing other young girls and young women. That didn’t happen. In the end, the story that ran erased our voices,” they said in a statement.
Epstein, 66, was pronounced dead on Aug. 17 just over an hour after being found unconscious in his prison cell in New York City. He was awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.