Woman drops lawsuit against Leon Black alleging rape at Jeffrey Epstein mansion

FILE: Leon Black, chairman and chief executive officer of Apollo Global Management LLC, at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. 

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A woman who had accused Apollo Global Management co-founder Leon Black of raping her at the New York mansion of the late sex predator Jeffrey Epstein has agreed to drop her civil lawsuit against Black.

The suit by the woman, Cheri Pierson, was “discontinued with prejudice and without costs to any party as against the other,” according to a Manhattan Supreme Court filing Friday signed by her lawyer and Black’s attorney.

That notation means that Pierson cannot resurrect her legal claims against the billionaire investor Black in connection with the purported attack at Epstein’s Upper East Side residence in 2002.

It also means that Black did not make a payment to settle the case.

Black had denied Pierson’s allegation, filed in November 2022, that he had raped her in a suite at Epstein’s mansion, where she had gone “believing that she would give Black a massage and receive the money that had been promised her in exchange,” according to her complaint.

Black, in a statement provided to CNBC on Monday, said, “I have never met Ms. Pierson. I have no further comment.”

Black’s lawyer, Danya Perry, in her own statement, said, “This matter has been dismissed with prejudice. I will make no further comment.”

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

Black in January 2023 agreed to pay $62.5 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands to be released from any potential claims related to the territory’s probe of Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation there.

Two years earlier, Apollo Global Management revealed that its then-CEO Black had paid Epstein $158 million for financial advice from 2012 through 2017 despite him knowing that Epstein had pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting sex for pay from and underage girl in Florida.

Black left Apollo in March 2021, months earlier than he previously had said he would.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in August 2019 in a federal jail in Manhattan, a month after he was arrested on federal child sex trafficking charges.

Black in a letter Saturday separately withdrew his appeal of a judge’s ruling in Pierson’s case denying his motion for sanctions against Wigdor.

Black had claimed in that motion that Wigdor had “repeatedly abused the court system to launder frivolous, unsubstantiated, and damaging accusations of sexual assault against Black across two lawsuits.”

The Wigdor law firm is continuing to pursue a separate lawsuit against Black that its attorneys filed in July, alleging that he raped a then-16-year-old girl with autism at Epstein’s Manhattan home in 2002.

Another lawyer for Black last year said that he had never met the accuser, a woman in her 30s identified by the pseudonym Jane Doe in filings in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

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That attorney, Susan Estrich, said at the time, “These vicious and defamatory lies, masquerading as allegations, have been intentionally manufactured by the Wigdor law firm as part of the firm’s vendetta against Mr. Black for vigorously and successfully defending himself over the past two years,” Estrich said.

A third lawsuit against Black, filed by a woman named Guzel Ganieva, was dismissed by a Manhattan Supreme Court judge last May.

Ganieva had claimed Black defamed her by claiming she had extorted him for many years after they had what he said was a “consensual affair.” Ganieva’s lawsuit alleged he was a “predator” who had “sexually harassed and abused” her for years.

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In dismissing her suit, Judge David Cohen cited the fact that Ganieva had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Black, who paid her about $9.5 million after she signed the NDA.

That agreement released Black from “all matters, causes of actions, claims, suits … arising prior to the signing of this Agreement … or any time in the future after the signing of this Agreement,” Cohen’s dismissal noted.

Ganieva has appealed the dismissal of her lawsuit.

Wigdor originally represented Ganieva in a suit against Black, but she fired the firm before the case was dismissed.

In August, Black sued Wigdor and Ganieva in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleging malicious prosecution against him. That lawsuit, which is pending, also cites Wigdor’s lawsuits against Black on behalf of Jane Doe and Pierson.

Wigdor and Ganieva have moved to dismiss the complaint.

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