A lawyer for Leon Black says Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial serves as a warning that the attorney’s billionaire client won’t get a “fair shake” — if his alleged ties to Jeffrey Epstein aren’t thrown out of a defamation lawsuit.
The former Apollo Global Management CEO has been staving off claims by Russian model Guzel Ganieva — who alleges Black once flew her to Florida to have sex with Epstein and that he raped another woman at Epstein’s townhouse.
“If this completely horrifying and horrific stuff that has nothing to do with any of the facts of this case come in, then our client has no shot of getting a fair shake in this case,” Black’s lawyer Danya Perry said during a video conference in Ganieva’s suit.
“We see that being played out across the street at Foley Square where it has taken weeks and questionnaires to get a cross-section of New Yorkers who can fairly hear the Ghislaine Maxwell case,” Perry added.
Maxwell, Epstein’s alleged madam, is on trial in Manhattan federal court, accused of enticing young girls into traveling to engage in sex acts with the multimillionaire financier from 1994 to 2004.
Perry was specifically arguing that Ganieva’s case should not include allegations about Epstein or claims from anonymous women accusing Black of sexual wrongdoing.
“For our client, this truly is a life-or-death issue because the plaintiff has been trying throughout this proceeding to make this case about everything other than the actual facts that are relevant to the cause of action,” Perry said. “It’s maximal prejudice in this case and minimal relevance — if any whatsoever.”
“You don’t prove animus by bringing in extrinsic information about other women, about their sexual history and about other men who may have committed bad acts,” Perry said.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice David Cohen said he would hear full oral arguments on the matter in January.
Black maintains that Ganieva’s claims that he tried to push her into having sex with Epstein in 2008 are “demonstrably false” and “invented,” noting that she didn’t include them in the first version of her lawsuit.
Black also vehemently denied the accusations that he raped another woman at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, adding that Ganieva had changed her story three times in three different versions of the lawsuit.
“It is abundantly clear that the only goal here is to publicly destroy Mr. Black’s personal and professional reputation and to defame him by perpetrating a baseless smear campaign,” Black’s rep said at the time.
Ganieva sued Black in June claiming that he lied in saying she tried to extort him in order to silence her about the true nature of their six-year affair, in which she alleges he was sadistic and sexually violent toward her.
At the time, Black claimed her suit was “riddled with lies” and said their relationship was “wholly consensual.”