A woman has sued billionaire investor Leon Black alleging he is “brutal.”[ly]He raped her at Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan home in the spring of 2002.
She named Sherry Pearson Black — the co-founder and former CEO of private equity giant Apollo Global Management — and the estate of the late Epstein as defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed in a New York court on Monday.
Pearson alleges that Epstein arranged a massage for Black for her on the third floor of Epstein’s New York City mansion, and she agreed to do so in exchange for money she “desperately needed” to care for her young daughter. Instead, she claims, Black raped her in a “brutal attack” that left her “swollen, lacerated and bleeding”.
The complaint, filed by a law firm, said: “By the time Ms. Pearson exited the massage ward and got into the elevator with Black, she could hardly get out of the house onto the sidewalk, as she was in excruciating pain and still in shock.” The LLB is worth it.
Black denied the allegations on Monday. His attorney, Susan Estrich of Estrich Goldin, said in a statement that the allegations were “categorically false and part of a scheme to extort money from Mr. Black by threatening to destroy his reputation”. According to Forbes, Black has a net worth of $9 billion.
The former Wall Street mogul — who stepped down as CEO of Apollo in January 2021 after an independent review of his relations with convicted sex offender Epstein — expressed regret over his dealings with Epstein in a letter to investors in 2020. The New York Times reported that Black may be may have paid up to $75 million to Epstein for consulting and other services, according to two people with knowledge of the transactions, adding that the two “often socialize and have dinner together.”
Black also faces allegations from Russian model Guzel Ganieva, who says he sexually assaulted her and then falsely accused her of blackmail when she spoke out. Black also denied the allegations.
Wigdor filed Pearson’s complaint Monday under New York’s Adult Survivors Act. The company’s Doug Wigdor helped defend the new law, which was passed in May and took effect last week. It gives adult sexual assault survivors a one-year window to file claims against their abusers in New York, setting aside the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits.
Several weeks before the alleged assault, according to the complaint, Epstein told Pearson that he would arrange a meeting with an unnamed rich and powerful man — who allegedly could help with a skin care product she was trying to market. After the alleged rape, Pierson, who did not have health insurance, was so badly injured that it was difficult for her to urinate “for several weeks,” according to the complaint.
After the alleged attack, the complaint also says, Black called Pearson several times saying he felt “bad” and “wanted to talk,” and later gave her $5,000 at a bar. He then called again and asked to see her, according to the complaint, but Pearson refused to see him again.
“Thanks to the passage of the Adult Survivors Act, survivors of sexual violence like our client Ms. Pearson can seek the justice they deserve no matter how many years they have experienced their trauma,” Wigdor’s partner, Jane Christensen, said in a statement.
In his 2020 letter to investors regretting his relationship with Epstein, Black said their relationship involved only professional services such as “estate planning, taxes and charitable endeavors”. He also wrote that he met Epstein occasionally at Epstein’s New York home to conduct business, as Epstein did not have a separate office.
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to two felony counts: procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution and soliciting prostitution. After Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison, said a report from the law firm Deckert, Black did not believe it was inappropriate to continue a working relationship with him, as Black is someone who “believes in rehabilitation”.
Epstein died by suicide in August 2019 while in federal custody awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking.
CNN’s Matt Egan and Jazmine Goodwin contributed to this report.
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