Sarah Ferguson backs Prince Andrew as ‘greatest man’ amid underage sex claims

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LONDON (CNN) — Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson has reportedly given strong backing to her former husband amid allegations — strenuously denied by Buckingham Palace — that he had sex with an underage girl.

She spoke to reporters Monday in Verbier in the Swiss Alps, where she had been on a ski holiday with Prince Andrew and their daughter Eugenie, according to UK media reports.

“The York family is a tight unit. We’ve always been a tight unit,” the Telegraph newspaper quoted Ferguson as saying.

“He is the greatest man there is. It was the finest moment of my life in 1986 when I married him. He is a great man, the best in the world.”

Buckingham Palace again rejected the allegations Monday, made in a federal court filing in Florida last week.

“It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

Prominent U.S. attorney Alan Dershowitz, facing a similar accusation, did the same in an interview with CNN’s “New Day.”

Dershowitz said he was filing a sworn affidavit Monday denying the accusations, and was filing a motion “to intervene in the case.” His legal team is “preparing disbarment and disciplinary papers,” he said.

He challenged Roberts to charge him with rape, the “most serious crime anyone can imagine. If she does, she will go to jail for filing a false rape charge.” Dershowitz offered to waive the statute of limitations and “any immunity.”

Speaking later to CNN’s Hala Gorani, Dershowitz dismissed the claims as “total and complete lies,” and said his accuser was “just lying through her teeth.”

The court filing alleges that “Doe 3” was forced to have sex with several men when she was a teenager. Roberts made the allegations in a civil motion filed last week in U.S. District Court in southern Florida, joined by another unnamed woman.

While Roberts was not identified by name in the filing, her name was widely reported in the British news media over the weekend, and Buckingham Palace included it in the statement. (Dershowitz noted that in his CNN interview, it was CNN that identified her by name.)

The case centers on an American billionaire.

Roberts and another woman are seeking to join two other women who are arguing in federal court for the U.S. government to take a fresh look at its case involving Jeffrey Epstein, who pleaded guilty some years ago in Florida to a state charge of prostitution solicitation.

The investment banker agreed to a state plea deal in 2007 and began serving an 18-month sentence in 2008, according to The New York Times.

Epstein was the subject of a federal investigation, but a deal allowed him to plead guilty to the lesser state charge and avoid a potential federal case, the Times and The Washington Post reported.

Prince Andrew has been photographed with Epstein. The prince previously issued an apology for his friendship with the scandal-plagued billionaire.

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