- Attorneys representing Jeffrey Epstein’s estate want to drop out of a sexual assault lawsuit against Leon Black.
- Cheri Pierson claims Epstein arranged a massage for Black, during which Black raped her in 2002.
- Epstein’s attorneys say there is insufficient evidence that Epstein acted negligently.
Executors of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate are trying to walk away from a lawsuit filed by a woman alleging she was raped by hedge fund manager Leon Black at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse in 2002.
Cheri Pierson said she first met Epstein around 2000, when he started paying her $300 a session to give him bikini-clad massages. She says Epstein masturbated during those sessions and asked her to perform oral sex, and she refused each time.
About two years later, Pierson found himself in a desperate situation and asked Epstein for work. At the time, he made an appointment for her to massage Black, the co-founder and former CEO of Apollo Global Management, the lawsuit alleges.
During the massage at Epstein’s New York City townhouse, Pierson said Black told her he wanted to “orally copulate her” and then “surprisingly and violently … put her in a position where she was physically helpless.”
“No doubt he knew that she did not consent,” the lawsuit says.
In court documents filed Thursday, attorneys for Epstein’s estate asked to be removed from the lawsuit, saying Pierson was unable to show Epstein that he knew Black would rape her.
They cited a New York law that holds homeowners liable for their guests’ misconduct only when they know, or should have known, that the guests would commit wrongdoing and could have prevented it.
“The plaintiff does not even conclusively allege that Epstein was at the townhouse when the alleged rape occurred,” wrote attorneys for Epstein’s estate.
Pierson claims Epstein knew Black had “sexually deviant needs,” but Epstein’s attorneys said that was too “vague” a claim and “does not prove Epstein knew or should have known Black was a rapist, who would rape her”.
Black stepped down as CEO and chairman of Apollo Global Management in 2021 after the extent of his financial ties to Epstein was revealed. That year, another woman, Guzel Ganieva, accused Black of raping her and flying her to Epstein’s Palm Beach home to engage in sexual acts.
Black’s attorneys also filed court documents Wednesday to dismiss one of Pierson’s lawsuits against him, but say they plan to disprove the entire story in a timely manner.
“To be clear, the alleged sexual assault never occurred,” Black’s attorneys said.
Pierson’s attorneys did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the co-defendants’ filing Thursday.
Epstein died of an apparent suicide in prison in August 2019, shortly after being charged with child sex trafficking.
A trust was set up to compensate its hundreds of alleged victims and has paid out $125 million so far.