Leon Black, co-founder of Apollo, accused again for rape in Epstein mansion

Bloomberg — The co-founder of Apollo Global Management Inc. (APO), Leon Black, was sued by a woman who claims that the billionaire raped her in 2002 at Jeffrey Epstein’s house in Manhattan, United States.

The lawsuit, in which Cheri Pierson (Virginia) alleges the executive assaulted her after Epstein introduced them, was filed Monday in New York state court by the same law firm that represents former Russian model Guzel Ganieva. Ganieva, who also claims Black raped her, sued him last year, accusing him of defamation for calling their relationship a “consensual affair” and claiming she had blackmailed him for it.

Pierson’s lawsuit, which also names Epstein’s estate as defendants, adds another layer of litigation to the acrimonious feud between Black and Ganieva. It started when she wrote on Twitter in March 2021 that she was “harassed and sexually abused by him for years.”

Black has denied harassing or assaulting Ganieva. On Monday, Pierson’s attorney Susan Estrich also called Pierson’s claims false.

“These latest allegations by the Wigdor firm are categorically false”Estrich said in a statement, citing a “serial abuse of the judicial process” and vowing “defeat these unsubstantiated claims, and pursue all our resources.”

An attorney for the Epstein estate did not respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed shortly after a new law, the New York Adult Survivors Law, went into effect. The law, which arises as a result of the movement #MeToolifts the one-year statute of limitations for civil lawsuits for alleged sexual offenses. The lawsuit is one of the first tests of the law, along with an assault complaint filed against Donald Trump by E. Jean Carroll, the New York author who claims he raped her in the 1990s. Trump has denied the allegations.

rain of lawsuits

Black, 71, stepped away from managing Apollo the month of Ganieva’s tweet amid controversy over his relationship with Epstein, to whom he had paid $158 million for various financial services. He denied Ganieva’s accusations but said he had made payments to her for years to keep their affair a secret. Epstein, accused of sex trafficking, died in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial, in what was ruled a suicide.

Black then sued Ganieva, Apollo co-founder Josh Harris, and public relations professional Steven Rubenstein, alleging that they had violated civil racketeering laws by plotting his personal and professional destruction. That lawsuit was thrown out in June by a federal judge who called the blackmail allegations “grossly flawed.”. Black is appealing the dismissal.

The Apollo co-founder filed another lawsuit against Ganieva and her lawyers in October, alleging that a confidentiality agreement for which he had been paid more than $9 million prevented him from disclosing their relationship. She alleges that her lawyers knew of the agreement and encouraged her to break it.

Pierson’s allegations are similar to Black’s alleged treatment of a woman identified only as Jane Doe, first outlined in September 2021 in a proposed amended complaint in the Ganieva defamation case and repeated in the amended complaint itself, which was filed in May. Black has appealed the judge’s decision allowing Ganieva to file the amended complaint and denying her motion to strike out parts of it.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces the charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City.  dfd

Single mother

According to the new lawsuit against Black, Pierson was a single mother living in New Jersey commuting to Manhattan for a low-paying receptionist job in 2000 when she was contacted by an acquaintance, a Ukrainian woman who urged her to meet with Epstein. , saying that he could help her financially.

Pierson said she initially ignored the calls, but was later contacted by a woman named Maxwell who said that Epstein was a “powerful businessman” who could help her, according to the lawsuit. The reference is to Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s close associate who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in her own sex trafficking case.

Pierson eventually went to Epstein’s Manhattan home on East 71st Street. There, Epstein paid her $300 for a 20-minute massage in a bikini, more than she earned in a week, and then asked her to perform oral sex on him, a request she refused., according to the complaint. Later, she says, he sent her $300 and told her that she was going to introduce him to someone who could help her.

Back at the house, he found Black standing in the hallway in a business suit, according to the complaint. He alleges that they both took the elevator to Epstein’s massage parlor, where Black gave her $300, stripped naked, and raped her.

Pierson claims that Black tried to reconnect with her and met her twice in restaurants, at one point giving her $5,000 to help her with her credit card debt, but that she refused to see him again.

Ganieva last week lost an attempt to disqualify a law firm representing Black, Perry Guha LLP, after Joan Illuzzi-Orbon – a former Manhattan district office prosecutor who investigated the allegations against Black – joined the firm as adviser. Perry Guha has said that Illuzzi-Orbon is not involved in the Black litigation. Black was never charged.

The latest case is Pierson v. Black, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.

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Leon Black, co-founder of Apollo, accused again for rape in Epstein mansion

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