Woman 'clears' billionaire Leon Black of rape at Jeffrey Epstein's mansion - Hindustan Times
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Woman 'clears' billionaire Leon Black of rape at Jeffrey Epstein's mansion, withdraws lawsuit

Feb 21, 2024 10:18 AM IST

Leon Black, co-founder of Apollo Global Management, cleared of one sexual assault lawsuit linked to Jeffrey Epstein's mansion.

Leon Black, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, has been cleared of one of the three lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault at the mansion of the notorious paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide in 2019.

Cheri Pierson drops civil suit against Leon Black over alleged rape at Epstein’s mansion.(Ap/AFP)
Cheri Pierson drops civil suit against Leon Black over alleged rape at Epstein’s mansion.(Ap/AFP)

Cheri Pierson, who claimed that Black raped her in 2002 at Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, agreed to drop her civil suit against Black on Friday, according to a court document signed by both parties’ lawyers.

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The document stated that the suit was “discontinued with prejudice and without costs to any party as against the other,” which means that Pierson cannot sue Black again over the same incident and that Black did not pay her any money to settle the case.

ALSO READ| Jeffrey Epstein’s victim says release of documents was ‘retraumatizing’: ‘Consistently triggering’

‘I have never met Ms Pierson’: Black

Black has always denied Pierson’s allegation, which she filed in November 2022.

Pierson said that she went to Epstein’s house “believing that she would give Black a massage and receive the money that had been promised her in exchange,” but instead was raped by Black in a suite, according to her complaint.

On Monday, Black told CNBC, “I have never met Ms. Pierson. I have no further comment.” His lawyer, Danya Perry, echoed the same sentiment in her own statement, saying, “This matter has been dismissed with prejudice. I will make no further comment.”

A representative of Wigdor LLP, the law firm that represented Pierson, said, “We have no comment at this time.”

Another two charges lingering on Black

Black still faces two other lawsuits related to his association with Epstein, who was arrested on federal child sex trafficking charges in July 2019 and killed himself in a Manhattan jail a month later.

Epstein had pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting sex for pay from an underage girl in Florida, but Black continued to pay him $158 million for financial advice from 2012 to 2017, as revealed by Apollo Global Management in 2020. Black was then the firm's CEO, but he stepped down in March 2021, earlier than planned.

In January 2023, Black agreed to pay $62.5 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands to avoid any potential claims arising from the territory’s investigation of Epstein’s sex trafficking operation there.

The other two lawsuits against Black were filed by the Wigdor law firm, which accused him of raping a 16-year-old girl with autism and a woman in her 30s, both at Epstein’s Manhattan home in 2002. The woman in her 30s, who used the pseudonym Jane Doe, filed her suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, while the 16-year-old girl filed hers in state court.

ALSO READ| Jeffrey Epstein list: Final set of documents expose paedophile's last words on sex trafficking claims

Black’s lawyer, Susan Estrich, said last year that he had never met either of the accusers and that the Wigdor law firm had “repeatedly abused the court system to launder frivolous, unsubstantiated, and damaging accusations of sexual assault against Black across two lawsuits.”

The third lawsuit against Black, filed by Guzel Ganieva, was dismissed by a state judge in May 2021. Ganieva alleged that Black was a “predator” who had “sexually harassed and abused” her for years after they had a “consensual affair.” Black claimed that she had extorted him millions of dollars and that she had signed a non-disclosure agreement with him, which the judge cited as the reason for dismissing her suit.

Ganieva has appealed the dismissal of her lawsuit.

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