Disgraced billionaire and former head of Apollo Global Management Leon Black has been hit with a lawsuit claiming he raped a 16-year-old autistic and Down syndrome girl in 2002.
Black stepped down from his role as CEO and chairman at Apollo in 2021. That’s after investigations revealed his financial and personal connections to the infamous deceased billionaire and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Black’s time in charge of New York-based Apollo from 1992 until 2021 included 12 years ownership of casino operator Harrah’s Entertainment, later Caesars Entertainment. Apollo currently operates The Venetian in Las Vegas, which is licensed by Caesars’ spin-off real estate investment trust VICI properties.
Black denies the new allegations, as he has done with separate, previous sexual misconduct claims.
“He never met this woman,” said his lawyer, Susan Estrich, as reported by Reuters. “He doesn’t know her at all. We’re confident the lawsuit is totally uncorroborated by any evidence. It has nothing to do with Leon Black.”
Series of Accusations
The latest accusation against Black accuses of him of visiting Jeffrey Epstein’s townhouse in New York in 2002. That’s where he allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl ostensibly bought there to give him a massage.
The woman, now in her 30s, filed the lawsuit under the pseudonym Jane Doe. She has neurodevelopmental autism and the genetic disorder Down syndrome.
After the assault, Black allegedly left Doe with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. She says that despite injuries from the assault, neither let her visit a doctor.
Previously, Black had paid a $62.5 million settlement to avoid a series of lawsuits into his relationship with the infamous Epstein and his alleged U.S Virgin Island sex trafficking operation.
He is currently fighting a second rape allegation from a woman named Chieri Pierson, which also supposedly took place in Epstein’s townhouse.
A further accuser, Guzel Ganevia, took Black to court last year with rape allegations.
However, the discovery of a $9.5 million payment Black made to Ganevia in return for signing a non-disclosure agreement in 2014 changed the case.
A New York judge ruled earlier this year that the signing of said document was not under duress, and therefore, her legal claim was invalid.
Black denies all claims against him. His lawyer noted that Chieri is represented by the same legal counsel, law firm, Wigdor, as the latest accuser.
“These vicious and defamatory lies, masquerading as allegations, have been intentionally manufactured by the Wigdor law firm as part of the firm’s vendetta against Mr. Black for vigorously and successfully defending himself over the past two years,” Estrich said, as reported by NBC News.
Epstein, whose connections to Black being revealed may have prompted more possible victims to come forward, was found dead by suicide in 2019 in a Manhattan jail. He was facing multiple counts of serious child sex offenses, including trafficking charges in Florida and New York.
Federal investigators, denied the opportunity to hold Epstein accountable for his alleged crimes, have also been chasing after those associated with him. That includes his long-term accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted of child sex trafficking in 2021.