Prince Andrew agonising over decision to condemn Ghislaine Maxwell in bid to save his reputation, sources claim

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PRINCE Andrew is ‘agonising’ over the arrest of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell – and fears “making enemies”, sources say.

The Duke of York hasn’t offered a comment since Maxwell was arrested and charged with grooming and trafficking underage girls for her then-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.

But The Telegraph reports tonight that the Duke is caught in a dilemma over how to proceed while facing questioning by the FBI.

Prince Andrew hasn’t denounced convicted paedophile Epstein – including in a Newsnight interview last year.

The disgraced financier died in jail in New York while awaiting trial on further charges.

And Prince Andrew says he doesn’t regret their friendship as he had met “useful” people through Epstein.

Days later, however, he said the association with Epstein was “ill-judged” and apologised.

And he allegedly fears being dragged further into the probe by Maxwell, who allegedly has “secret copies of Epstein’s sex tapes”.

The ex-girlfriend and alleged “madam” of convicted child sex offender Epstein was busted by the FBI in New Hampshire on Thursday and charged with sex trafficking.

A source said: “Volatire on his deathbed, who was asked by the priest to renounce the devil, replied: ‘This is no time to be making enemies’.

“The same applies to Prince Andrew.

“He is damned if he does [condemn Ms Maxwell]and damned if he doesn’t.

“This doesn’t seem a good time for him to publicly come out and criticise her.

“It would seem bad timing to do that now.”

Maxwell, 58, has been a close friend of the prince for about 30 years.

The FBI now wants to interview the Duke as a witness to the case.

Officials from the American organisation have requested assistance from the Home Office – and say he has refused to help them.

However, his legal team say he has offered to cooperate in writing on five separate occasions.

Last week, pictures showing her sitting on the Queen’s throne at Buckingham Palace in 2002 were published.

She and Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey visited the palace during a private tour with the prince.

Maxwell, the daughter of tycoon Robert Maxwell, is due in court on Friday for her arraignment on four counts of grooming and child sex trafficking and two separate charges of perjury.

She’s being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

An ex-warden said she’s in for a “crushing experience” as fellow inmates will see attacking her as a  “badge of honour”.

Christian Everdell, a former New York prosecutor who helped to convict El Chapo, is on her legal team.

Prince Andrew has hired a team of lawyers led by Gary Bloxsome and Clare Montgomery QC, who is seen as the UK’s leading expert on extradition law.

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