Attorneys for Black have blasted the lawsuit as meritless and have pledged to take legal action against the plaintiff’s counsel.
Billionaire and former Epstein associate Leon Black has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2002.
According to NBC News, attorneys for plaintiff Cheri Pierson claim that Black staged the “brutal attack” in a suite located within the late Jeffrey Epstein’s New York City estate.
The suite, notes the lawsuit, contained a massage table and was connected to a bathroom.
NBC News reports that Black recently stepped down as the head of Apollo Global Management, which he co-founded, after an independent review of his alleged ties to Epstein.
The review concluded that Black was not involved in Epstein’s criminal activities.
In her lawsuit, Pierson repeatedly references Black’s alleged “close ties” with Epstein, citing the men’s relationship as evidence that Black was in a position to have sexually assaulted her.
“Black had the opportunity and the means to rape Ms. Pierson that day because their meeting was pre-arranged by his close friend and confidant, Epstein,” the lawsuit claims.
The complaint further alleges that Epstein had arranged for Pierson to meet a “powerful businessman,” identified as Black, and provide a massage for $300.
At the time, Epstein did not disclose Black’s identity to Pierson.
However, Epstein did inform Pierson that the client “helps people,” and suggested that “he may be able to financially ‘help’ Ms. Pierson” with a skin care product that she was trying to sell.
The lawsuit alleges that Black then proceeded to “brutally” attack Pierson, leaving her “swollen, torn, and bleeding,” such that “she could barely walk out of the house onto the sidewalk, as she was in excruciating pain and still in shock.”
Jeanne Christensen, an attorney for Pierson, said that the lawsuit was filed under New York’s recently-enacted Adult Survivors Act.
The Adult Survivors Act provides a brief, one-year window for the adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file complaints against alleged perpetrators and enablers, even if and when the statute of limitations had already passed.
“Thanks to the passage of the Adult Survivor’s Act, survivors of sexual violence like our client Ms. Pierson can seek the justice they deserve no matter how many years ago their trauma was suffered,” Pierson attorney Jeanne Christensen said in a statement.
Susan Estrich, an attorney with Estrich Goldin who is representing Black, told NBC News that “we intend to defeat these baseless claims and to pursue all of our remedies to hold the [plaintiff’s counsel] legally accountable for their abusive conduct and misuse of the courts.”
The Hill notes that Black is facing a similar sexual assault lawsuit filed by Russian model Guzel Ganieva, who has also claimed that Black abused her.