Hedge fund billionaire Leon Black accused of rape at Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion: lawsuit

Jeffrey Epstein in 2017, in a photo for the New York sex offender registry.
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

Hedge fund billionaire Leon Black has been accused of raping a woman at pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion in 2002, according to a lawsuit filed by the accuser in Manhattan Supreme Court Monday.

Cheri Pierson, of Virginia, filed her suit under the state’s Adult Survivors Act, accusing Black of rape in a massage parlor at Epstein’s massive 71st Street mansion, the site of innumerable alleged sex crimes by the late pervert, and a place “where no one could see Black or hear Ms. Pierson scream.”

“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,” said attorney Jeanne Christensen of Wigdor Law LLP in a statement. “We look forward to holding Black and Epstein’s estate accountable for their appalling unlawful conduct as alleged in the complaint by our client.”

In the filing, Pierson says that she pre-arranged with Epstein to provide a massage to one of his wealthy friends for $300, with the pal turning out to be Black.

In the third-floor parlor, Black allegedly gave Pierson another $300 but then did not even continue with the pretense of a massage, pressuring her to undress and then pinning her down on the table before proceeding to aggressively perform oral sex on her.

Pierson says that Black allegedly bit her vagina, causing her excruciating pain that lasted for several weeks. She alleges Black attempted to maintain a relationship by repeatedly calling her and eventually handing over $5,000 cash to the financially-strapped Pierson, but she rebuffed further advances.

Through his attorney, Black deemed the suit part of a pattern by Wigdor to extort money out of Black, alluding to another defamation suit the firm is fronting by model Guzel Ganieva, who is suing the billionaire for defamation in relation to an alleged 2014 sexual assault. Black has countersued the model and alleged she might even be a Russian spy.

“These latest allegations from the Wigdor firm are categorically false and part of a scheme to extort money from Mr. Black by threatening to destroy his reputation,” said Susan Estrich of Estrich Goldin LLP in a statement, arguing the claims in the suits were “false and defamatory” and that Wigdor was simply throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. “This serial abuse of the judicial process cannot stand. We intend to defeat these baseless claims, and to pursue all of our remedies to hold the Wigdor firm legally accountable for their abusive conduct and misuse of the courts.”

But Black’s long association with Epstein has already had significant ramifications on his position and reputation. Last year, he exited his hedge fund Apollo Global Management amid a probe into his and his firm’s ties with Epstein; the investigation determined Black had made $158 million in payments to Epstein between 2012 and 2017 — long after the financier’s 2008 guilty plea for procuring a child for prostitution and publicization of his massive-scale alleged deviance — for consulting work on tax avoidance.

Black was just one of a number of powerful figures who kept in touch with Epstein after his first dalliance with Johnny Law; others included Britain’s Prince Andrew and Bill Gates. Epstein, who died by suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while being held on child sex trafficking charges, maintained relationships throughout his life with powerful figures, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

Before meeting Epstein, Pierson says she was a single mother living in New Jersey and working a low wage job as a receptionist in Midtown. She was first recruited to meet Epstein by a Ukrainian woman in 2000, before eventually chatting by phone with Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s madam who is now serving a 20 prison sentence. Pierson agreed to meet Epstein in the hopes he could help her out financially and potentially provide business assistance as she hoped to launch a skincare line.

Epstein allegedly paid Pierson $300 for scantily clad massages on numerous occasions, but refused further sexual advances from the financier. In 2002, in severe financial straits, she contacted Epstein again, who said he had a friend he’d like her to meet, whom she would ultimately learn was Leon Black.

Like many of his victims, Pierson argues that Epstein was using her financial distress against her for sex, eventually passing her on to a friend “when she did not satisfy him.” Pierson alleged in her suit that Epstein threatened her after the assault by implying he had a video recording of her while in the bathroom.

Pierson was not underage at the time she knew Epstein, unlike many of his victims, but conceded she “looked much younger than her age.” Christensen told amNewYork Metro that the legal team does not plan to publicly disclose Pierson’s age.