Rape Accuser Cheri Pierson Drops Lawsuit Against Billionaire Leon Black

Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty
Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty

In 2022, a woman filed a disturbing lawsuit accusing private equity billionaire Leon Black of raping her at his buddy Jeffrey Epstein’s New York mansion.

That litigation is now over, as both sides signed a stipulation of discontinuance with prejudice last week in New York Supreme Court—meaning the case is permanently closed—and noted that neither party would bear any costs. “I have never met Ms. Pierson,” Black, 72, said in a statement. “I have no further comment.”

Cheri Pierson’s case was among three sexual abuse complaints that her lawyers at Wigdor LLP filed against Black, a longtime associate of Epstein, since 2021.

Her lawsuit says she was a struggling single mom in 2002 when Epstein’s accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell introduced her to the sex trafficker, who then handed her off to Black. At the time, Black’s lawyer Susan Estrich called the claims “categorically false and part of a scheme to extort money from Mr. Black by threatening to destroy his reputation.”

In 2021, Black’s former girlfriend Guzel Ganieva sued him for defamation, claiming her raped her and forced her to sign an NDA. An amended complaint alleged that in 2008, Black flew her to Epstein’s Florida mansion, where she was pressured to have sex with the sex trafficker but refused. A judge dismissed the matter in 2023, ruling that her $9.5 million payout from Black under their hush money agreement barred her claims.

Last July, a woman referred to as Jane Doe filed a complaint against Black in Manhattan federal court, claiming he raped her when she was 16 years old. According to the lawsuit, Black brutally assaulted the woman, who has autism and a rare form of Down syndrome, at Epstein’s New York townhouse in 2002.

Black’s relationship with Epstein—during which he paid the trafficker $158 million from 2012 to 2017—has come back to haunt him since the sex offender’s death in 2019. Last year, he agreed to pay the U.S. Virgin Islands $62.5 million to be released from any possible claims stemming from the territory’s sex-trafficking investigation into Epstein.

Meanwhile, Black is pursuing a malicious prosecution suit against Wigdor and Ganieva (who parted ways with the firm), alleging that the lawsuits “lacked even a shred of support and were wholly contradicted by evidence available to Defendants or actually in their possession, including text messages and audio recordings.”

Wigdor and Ganieva asked a judge to dismiss Black’s complaint.

In a recent legal memorandum, Wigdor’s lawyers said Black’s lawsuit “amounts to a desperate attempt to do something—anything—to portray Ganieva and her counsel as the architects of Black’s recent loss of status. This, despite the fact that Black destroyed his own reputation long before Wigdor represented Ganieva in the Ganieva Action, after it emerged that he paid $158,000,000 to infamous pedophile Jeffrey Epstein for purported ‘legal and tax advice,’ at the very height of Epstein’s depravity.”

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