A former financier and associate of Jeffrey Epstein was sued Monday over allegations that he raped a woman at Epstein’s New York City mansion in the spring of 2002, according to court documents.
Lawyers for Cheri Pierson, who filed the lawsuit Monday in New York state court in Manhattan, said Leon Black’s “brutal attack” took place in a suite at the luxury home that contained a massage table and was connected to a bathroom, according to court records.
Black resigned as a director of the investment firm Apollo Global Management, which he co-founded, following an independent review of his ties to Epstein last year. The review, conducted by a New York law firm, found that Black was not involved in Epstein’s criminal activities.
“Black had the opportunity and means to rape Ms. Pierson that day because her close friend and confidant, Epstein, arranged their meeting,” the lawsuit alleges.
Black’s attorney, Susan Estrich of Estrich Goldin, told NBC News that “we intend to defeat these unsubstantiated claims and pursue all of our remedies to keep the [plaintiff’s firm] legally responsible for their abusive conduct and misuse of the courts.”
According to the lawsuit, Epstein arranged for Pierson to meet the “powerful businessman” and deliver a message to Black for $300 at Epstein’s home after she finished work. At the time, Epstein did not reveal Black’s name to Pierson and she did not ask, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit says Pierson was a single mother living in New Jersey and was introduced to Epstein by Ghislaine Maxwell at the time.
Epstein said Black “helps people” and “implied that he might ‘help’ Ms. Pierson financially” with a skin care product he was trying to sell, according to court documents.
Black is accused of using the edge of the massage table “as a fulcrum to harness his physical power and disable Ms. Pierson,” and “recalls that Black made vulgar and disgusting comments, but his immediate fear was breaking the lower part of the massage table.” top of the skull against it.” the hard floor if Black wanted to,” according to court documents.
Pierson alleges that “she remembers desperately screaming and yelling, but isn’t sure what words came out in her backwards state.” Court documents add: “She tried to kick. She struggled to free her legs from her fierce grip, but he was too strong.
The documents say that after Pierson was raped, they left Epstein’s apartment and that outside, “Black turned to Pierson and said, ‘I’m black.'”
“Millisecond. Pierson looked at Black with a confused look, because he didn’t know his name and thought he was strangely referring to skin color. Black then said ‘Black, my name is Leo Black,'” according to the documents.
At the time, he had no health insurance and was using over-the-counter pain medications and to prevent infection, and “for several weeks, it was painful and difficult to urinate,” according to court documents.
The lawsuit says a friend convinced Pierson not to tell anyone because “no one would believe him.”
Pierson’s attorney, Jeanne Christensen, said “Thanks to the passage of the Adult Survivors Act, survivors of sexual violence like Ms. Pierson can seek the justice they deserve no matter how many years ago they suffered their trauma.”
“We look forward to holding the Black and Epstein estates accountable for their egregious illegal conduct as alleged in our client’s complaint,” it said in a statement.
Pierson’s attorneys did not immediately respond to questions about whether she spoke to police or medical officials about the alleged rape.
Another woman, Guzel Ganieva, sued Black last year, accusing him of rape and defamation, according to court documents. The lawsuit is pending in New York County Supreme Court. Black said Ganieva’s claims are part of an “extortion scheme” or “extortion campaign,” according to court documents. Christensen is also Ganieva’s lawyer.
Epstein’s estate did not immediately respond to a request for comment.