Edited by: TJVNews
Seems like hedge fund mogul Leon Black will be heading to court to defend himself against rape accusations made against him by a former Russian model, according to court documents.
For those not in the know, Black is the founder of Apollo Global Management. The Post reported that in July, Black had initially filed a preliminary statement, answer and countersuit against Guzel Ganieva. The statement said that he had “irrefutable documentary evidence” the model was guilty of defamation when she alleged that Black raped her.
The Post reported that Ganieva apparently modified her original complaint against him by adding scurrilous allegations that Black had arranged for her to fly to Florida to have a sexual encounter with the late Jeffrey Epstein, who was known to be a pedophile. Attorneys representing Black said in their court filing that they had a change of heart and would not be pursuing a counterclaim against the model.
In a filing in New York Supreme Court last week that escaped media attention for some unknown reason Black said he did not “intend to assert counterclaims at this time,” as was reported by the New York Post.
The filing indicated, however, that Black’s objective is to be afforded the opportunity to defend himself against the model’s charges which he has categorically denied. Black’s legal team has said that their client doesn’t want a likely motion to dismiss a counterclaim to delay the case, was reported by the Post.
In the filing Black’s attorney, Danya Perry of Perry Guha said his clients “priority is to proceed with discovery as expeditiously as possible, to defend and vindicate himself against her (Ganieva’s) willfully false claims, “ according to the Post.
Speaking to the Post, sources close to the matter have said that Black’s team will file a response to Ganieva’s amended claim by the Wednesday deadline, next week.
Jeanne Christensen, an attorney for Ganieva said in papers filed in court that she finds Black’s response to be unacceptable. The Post reported that she claims that it was clear that Black’s motive was to besmirch her client in the court of public opinion by filing his original countersuit.
In a late Tuesday filing, the Post reported that Christensen said “When Black opted to allege legal claims against Ganieva, he did so on purpose, and with the hope that he would receive favorable opinions in the media and by the public for aggressively ‘defending and vindicating himself.”
Speaking to the Post, Stephen Bourtin, a lawyer who has experience working with victims of sexual harassment victims as well as defendants told The Post that Black’s desire to drop his countersuit was “very unusual.”
Bourtin, of the Boyd Law Group, told the Post that “one might conclude Black is trying to poison the well and not follow through,” according to the Post report.
The legal team representing Black said that he is not foregoing the option at a later date to file a counterclaim.
Ganieva’s attorney has served Black with requests for document production and pertinent information in July but according to court papers, Christensen has said that thus far Black has not responded with submissions of documents requested, as was reported in the Post.
For his part, Black and his defense team have countered in their filing that Black is agreeable in the matter of document production but only with the proviso that he is granted guaranteed confidentiality. The Post report states that Ganieva has not agreed to that stipulation.
Attorneys for Black have also countered that lawyers representing Ganieva also are not forthcoming with requests for the discovery phase of the case.
In an exclusive report by the Post in April of this year, Ganieva first went public with the charges against Black in March. It was then that the model took to Twitter to post a series of messages which claimed that she was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement relating to allegations that Black “sexually harassed and abused” her, as was reported by the Post.
In a public statement, Black alleged that Ganieva’s motivation for accusing him of rape was because her objective was to extort significant amounts of money from him.
It was then that the defamation suit that is currently being litigated in New York State Supreme Court was filed.
Black’s association with Jeffrey Epstein has not been completely spelled out, however, Ganieva has alleged that Black coerced her to engage in a threesome with Epstein, according to the Post report. Black has denied the allegations.
Marc Rowan, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management has assumed the role of CEO after Black agreed to hand it to him back in January. This came in the aftermath of an internal Apollo report that revealed that Black had “paid Epstein $158 million for tax advice and estate-planning services after Epstein’s 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution, “according to the Post report.