Amy Robach Walks Back Leaked Video Claiming ABC 'Quashed' Jeffrey Epstein Story: 'I Was Upset'

The 20/20 co-anchor has since released a statement saying the comments were made in "a private moment of frustration"

Amy Robach ABC News
Photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC

Amy Robach has spoken out about her controversial hot-mic moment about convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

On Tuesday morning, a right-wing activist group, Project Veritas, leaked a video of the 20/20 co-anchor venting her frustrations with ABC for allegedly not publishing her story on Epstein in 2015.

Robach had interviewed Virginia Giuffre, one of the women who accused the late Epstein and Prince Andrew of sexual misconduct. And in the video, the journalist appeared to claim that the network refused to air her story due to pressure from Buckingham Palace.

Both ABC and Robach released statements to PEOPLE denying this.

“As a journalist, as the Epstein story continued to unfold last summer, I was caught in a private moment of frustration,” Robach, 46, said in a statement. “I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts [Giuffre] didn’t air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations.”

“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 [Giuffre] said in that interview in 2015,” she added. “I was referencing her allegations — not what ABC News had verified through our reporting. 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.”

ABC reiterated that Robach’s reporting had not met its standards.

“At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story,” ABC said in a statement. “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.”

In the video, Robach sat at the 20/20 news desk talking to someone off-camera about the interview she conducted with Giuffre.

Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein. Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty

“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 in the video. “First of all, I was told, ‘Who’s Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.’ Then the Palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways.”

Robach implied that ABC was worried that their relationship with the royal family would be tarnished by the story, and that they would not be given important interview opportunities with Prince William and Kate Middleton in the future.

“We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate and Will … that also quashed the story,” she said.

When reached by PEOPLE, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said this is a matter for ABC. The Palace has previously denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Giuffre.

Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein
Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein. Ian Forsyth/Getty Images; Neil Rasmus/Patrick McMullan

Robach also seemed to mention President Bill Clinton, a former friend of Epstein’s.

“It was unbelievable what we had. Clinton — we had everything,” she added. “I tried for three years to get it on to no avail, and now it’s all coming out, and it’s like these new revelations, and I freaking had all of it. I, I’m so p—– right now. … What we had was unreal. … I had it all three years ago.”

Following Epstein’s arrest, Clinton’s office said in a statement that the former president “knows nothing about the terrible crimes” that Epstein had been accused of and that they had not spoken in over a decade.

A source within the network tells PEOPLE that while they did tape the interview with Giuffre, the reporting did not pass their legal and standards check.

“All reporting goes through a legal and standards process, but we couldn’t corroborate key details,” the source tells PEOPLE. “At no time did we stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein.”

In 2017, Giuffre went to Miami Herald with her story, speaking out about the abuse she said she suffered at the hands of Epstein and his friend Ghislaine Maxwell. (Maxwell denied the allegations.) The Herald also interviewed fellow Epstein survivors Courtney Wild, Michelle Licata and Jena-Lisa Jones.

epstein whistleblowers
Gillian Laub

The result was a bombshell three-part investigation published last year. It led to Epstein’s arrest on July 6 and the resignation of several government officials.

According to a federal indictment unsealed two days after his arrest and obtained by PEOPLE, Epstein “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes.”

RELATED VIDEO: Naomi Campbell Was ‘Sickened’ By the ‘Indefensible’ Allegations Against Jeffrey Epstein

The convicted sex offender killed himself in prison in August while awaiting trial, though many have come to claim his death was not a suicide.

Last week, Dr. Michael Baden, New York City’s former chief medical examiner, told Fox & Friends that the evidence of Epstein’s death was more comparable to homicidal strangulation rather than a suicidal hanging.

“Those three fractures are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation,” he said on the show on Oct. 30.

He added: “I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case.”

Dr. Barbara Sampson, the current chief medical examiner of New York City who ruled Epstein’s death to be suicide, strongly disputed the findings by Dr. Baden, The New York Times reported.

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