Prince Andrew Should Not Be Stripped of Titles—Says Media Mogul Pardoned by Trump

Prince Andrew has a rare defender in the media—a former magnate who was pardoned by Donald Trump after a fraud conviction.

People willing to defend the Duke of York may be few and far between but one prominent figure has spoken out on his behalf, Conrad Black.

The Canadian-born British businessman's company Hollinger in the 1990s was said to be the third largest in the world and controlled both the Chicago Sun-Times and Britain's Daily Telegraph, among others.

He was convicted of fraud and spent three years in jail in 2012 before being pardoned by the former U.S. president in 2019.

In a comment piece for The New York Sun, Black wrote: "The abandonment of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, to the frenzied posthumous assault upon Jeffrey Epstein, in which all the many Canadian and other institutions and organizations that benefited from the Duke's patronage have participated, is a disgrace.

"For the Queen to have withdrawn from him all of the dignities exercised ex officio for centuries by the second son of the reigning monarch is not remotely justified by the almost irrelevant and inevitable fact that the Duke has been sued by a former companion of Epstein's and an American judge has declined to dismiss the charge in pre-trial proceedings."

He said: "Britain is a country that does respect the presumption of innocence of accused persons, and it is shocking that so distinguished a monarch as Queen Elizabeth II would submit to the hare-brained and unworldly advice of those who counseled her not only to attach a completely undeserved degree of credence to these so far unfounded allegations, but to put her own son over the side, prejudged and apparently abandoned by his family."

It comes a month after Queen Elizabeth II stripped Prince Andrew of his honorary military titles and royal patronages.

Black went on to attack the American legal system before suggesting lawyers may have been drawn to the case by Epstein's famous friends, name-checking Bill Clinton but not Donald Trump.

The Republican former president was named by an accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell's trial who said she met him aged 14, though she did not allege misconduct by him.

Black wrote: "The Epstein case—which is full of sex, money, and prominent people such as the Duke of York and former U.S. President Bill Clinton—is precisely the sort of litigation that attracts the worst type of American litigator, civil and criminal: the absolute dregs of American legal careerism."

He said: "I accept that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, both of whom I knew in innocuous contexts, may have recruited underage women for sexual purposes, and that is a serious offence. But none of this has the slightest connection to the Duke of York."

Clinton, Trump and Prince Andrew say they did not know about or take part in Epstein's crimes.

The prince is preparing to contest his sexual abuse lawsuit and his team are seeking testimony from his accuser Virginia Giuffre's husband and therapist.

Her attorneys want testimony from his former equerry Robert Olney and Shukri Walker, a witness who says she saw the prince with a young woman at Tramp nightclub in London.

Giuffre says she was taken to Tramp by Epstein and Maxwell in 2001 and danced with the duke before the four of them returned to Maxwell's London townhouse where Giuffre was made to have sex with Andrew.

The prince, who demanded a jury trial, says the allegations are false and he has no recollection of meeting her.

Prince Andrew Meets Donald Trump During Visit
Donald Trump (L) and Prince Andrew (R) visit Westminster Abbey during a state visit by the president to the U.K. on June 3, 2019. Conrad Black, who was pardoned by Trump, has defended the Duke of York in an op-ed. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images