ABC News faced some inconvenient questions Tuesday about its decision to ditch interview with Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts taken by Amy Robach three years ago after a video recording of Robach fuming about the network’s refusal was released online by Project Veritas.
In the video recording, Robach can be heard expressing indignation about an editorial decision to not air the interview with Epstein’s accuser despite having the material years before Epstein came into mainstream media’s spotlight.
“I’ve had the story for three years… we would not put it on the air,” Robach says. “It was unbelievable what we had, [Bill] Clinton, we had everything.”
According to Robach, the network killed the story for several reasons. The editors first claimed that nobody knew at the time who Epstein was. Roback also suggested that the interview would smear Prince Andrew, and this fact became known to the UK Royal Palace, who then put pressure on the network.
“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 on the video. "Then, the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways. We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate and Will that we, that also, quashed the story.”
She alleged that Epstein’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, pressed ABC into dropping the story.
“I tried for three years to get (the interview) on to no avail and now it's coming out and it's like these 'new revelations' and I freaking had all of it,” she said, visibly exasperated.
When contacted by Fox News, ABC downplayed the decision, saying that at the time the interview did not meet their editorial standards to be aired.
“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," a network spokesperson told Fox News.
ABC denied that external pressure influenced the editorial decision.
The network said that continued investigation into Epstein led to the creation of a two-hour documentary and six-part podcast scheduled to air next year. It is unclear how much of Robach’s work will be represented.
On Tuesday, Robach issued a statement acknowledging her interview did not meet the airing standards at the time. She also admitted the network never told her to drop her investigation into Epstein.
"The interview itself, while I was disappointed it didn't air, didn't meet our standards," Robach said on Tuesday. “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 [Epstein accuser] Virginia Roberts didn’t air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations.”
"In the years since no one has ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story,” she added.
Project Veritas, which released Robach’s emotional clip, is a private group that aims to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions in order to achieve a more ethical and transparent society.” According to AP, the Project is notorious for sending undercover reporters to catch employees making statements that display political bias.