The release of court documents said to incriminate Ghislaine Maxwell has been delayed after a US court granted the British socialite at the heart of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal a stay of execution, it has emerged.
Papers including her deposition statement will be kept under wraps in what her legal team will view as a welcome victory.
The decision by judges sitting in the Second Circuit of the US Court of Appeals was announced in a two-page order published yesterday.
The documents, said to contain the 58-year-old British socialite denying any knowledge of sex-trafficking for the multi-billionaire financier, were due to be unsealed on Monday.
Prosecutors have claimed the April 2016 deposition suggests Ms Maxwell had perjured herself by claiming not to know about sex-traffcking.
It is claimed she is recorded saying while under oath: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Ms Maxwell, who dated Epstein for a brief period in the 1990s, is in custody while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors for her former partner. She has pleaded not guilty and will go on trial in July of next year.
Her lawyers had argued that the release of the deposition could be prejudicial and jeopardise her right to a fair trial.
The two-page order does not include an explanation of the judges’ reasoning behind their decision.
Another court hearing regarding the files has been listed for September.
The decision to delay publication came the day after dozens of documents Ms Maxwell had also fought to keep secret were released.
Those files dated back to a now settled 2015 defamation lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, 36, one of Epstein's alleged victims, against Ms Maxwell.
Ms Giuffre has alleged the Duke of York was among the powerful associates of Epstein she was persuaded to have sex with when aged just 17. The Duke has emphatically denied the claims.
The papers released on Friday included claims the Duke had lobbied the US government to try to secure Epstein a “favourable” plea deal 21 years ago.
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of soliciting a minor for prostitution. His 18-month sentence - during which he worked from his Miami home - was vastly shorter than if he had been convicted of more serious sex charges.
Friends of the prince demanded the two unnamed women and alleged victims of Epstein should produce proof of their claims, rather than unfounded allegations.
The trove of files also included a manuscript containing a detailed account of the prince’s alleged sexual encounter with a woman in London.
The pages, entitled The Billionaire Playboy’s Club, was written by Ms Giuffre, 36, who claims she had sex with Prince Andrew on three separate occasions.
Ms Giuffre, who is also known as Roberts, alleges she had sex with a mystery “prince” – a man whose name she did not know, according to the unsealed documents. The Duke categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.
She alleged the Duke whispered “sweet nothings” into her ear and kissed her neck while on the dancefloor of London’s Tramp nightclub, during an evening out with Epstein and his ex-girlfriend Ms Maxwell.
She wrote: “I would just giggle not really knowing how to reply to an ageing man with a bad smile and terrible moves…”
Other papers released on Friday told how Epstein and Ms Maxwell were said to have told Ms Giuffre under-age girls wanted for sex “couldn’t be black”.
They also contain claims former president Bill Clinton had once flown to Epstein’s so-called “orgy island”.
Ms Giuffre was also recording telling lawyers that Epstein had boasted how Mr Clinton was among the many powerful people said to owe him “favours”.
There is no suggestion Mr Clinton, who is reported to have denied ever visiting the island, is linked in any way to the under age sex investigation in America or took part in any orgy.