By Benjamin Goggin | Business Insider
Raymond Hall / Getty Contributor
- In a leaked video that didn’t air, the ABC News anchor Amy Robach is seen discussing how upset she was that the network killed her 2015 exposé of the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
- Specifically, Robach’s story relied on an interview with Virginia Giuffre, who has accused Epstein of sex-trafficking her.
- The right-wing organization Project Veritas published the video on Tuesday. It said the video was from August and obtained from an unnamed network insider.
- ABC News and Robach both released statements saying the 2015 interview didn’t meet the network’s editorial standards to air.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The ABC News anchor Amy Robach appears to have been caught in a candid moment saying her network killed a story that would have exposed the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein years before he became headline news.
In a video published on Tuesday by Project Veritas, a right-wing organization mostly known for its hidden-camera gotcha videos, Robach appears to be discussing Epstein between takes.
In the video, which Project Veritas said was from August, Robach complains that her 2015 story on Epstein was killed and that she firmly believes Epstein was murdered.
Robach’s Epstein exposé has not seen the light of day
Robach said in the video that the network killed her 2015 story partly because of concerns about access to prominent people.
“I’ve had the story for three years. I’ve had this interview with Virginia Roberts. We would not put it on the air,” she said, referring to one of Epstein’s most prominent and public accusers who now goes by Virginia Giuffre, who has alleged that she was recruited to be Epstein’s sex slave.
Robach said that unnamed detractors initially questioned the story’s newsworthiness. Then, she said, the UK royal family “threatened us a million different ways” after learning that Robach was reporting on Giuffre’s allegations against Prince Andrew.
“We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate and Will that we — that also quashed the story,” she said, referring to Kate Middleton and Prince William.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement in August that Andrew met Epstein in 1999 and saw him “infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year,” including after Epstein’s release from jail in 2010. The Duke of York called it “a mistake and an error” to see Epstein after his conviction of soliciting a minor for prostitution.
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Robach’s account matches reporting from NPR in August that Giuffre was flown to New York, stayed in the Ritz-Carlton, and was interviewed on camera for over an hour but never got an explanation why her segment didn’t air.
“I viewed the ABC interview as a potential game-changer,” Giuffre told NPR. “Its wide viewership would have been the first time for me to speak out against the government for basically looking the other way and to describe the anger and betrayal victims felt.”
Tabloids such as the Daily Mail covered Giuffre’s accusations against Epstein in 2015, but few major media organizations gave the story the time of day.
NPR also reported that Alan Dershowitz, Epstein’s former attorney whom Giuffre accused of having sex with her as a minor under Epstein’s control, called the network as it was reporting the story.
He told NPR that he “did not want to see [Giuffre’s] credibility enhanced by ABC.”
ABC and Robach said the 2015 report didn’t meet editorial standards to put it on the air
In statements to The Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr on Tuesday, Robach and ABC News denied that the Giuffre interview was killed because of outside influence, saying that parts of the report didn’t meet editorial standards.
“At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story,” ABC News said. “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.”
Robach said the video captured her “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,” she said.
Robach added: “The interview itself, while I was disappointed it didn’t air, didn’t meet our standards. In the years since no one ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story.”
Robach also mentioned Epstein murder conspiracy theories in the video
Later in the video, Robach mentioned two hot-button Epstein topics: the theory that he was murdered — despite the official determination that he died by suicide in a Manhattan prison in August — and a connection to the Clintons.
“It was unbelievable what we had. Clinton. We had everything,” Robach said.
She added: “So do I think he was killed? One hundred percent, yes I do. He made his whole living blackmailing people.”
A popular conspiracy theory online is that the Clinton family had Epstein killed in jail, concerned about potential leaks about their activities with him.
Gawker and Fox News have reported that former President Bill Clinton rode on Epstein’s plane, dubbed the Lolita Express, in 2002, and potentially over a dozen other times. Clinton visited Epstein’s New York apartment at least once, and Epstein visited Clinton’s Harlem office at least once, a spokesman said. Epstein also visited the White House when Clinton was president, according to The Daily Beast.
Robach said in the statement: “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.”
In the video, Robach didn’t specifically claim that Clinton was on the island, referring only to “a lot of men in those planes, a lot of men who visited that island, a lot of powerful men who came into that apartment.”
Despite the coroner’s designation of Epstein’s death as suicide, the theory that Epstein was killed has been popular. An August poll found that only one in three Americans believed Epstein died by suicide.