Leon Black’s Accuser Kicks Her Attorneys to the Curb

The previous mannequin who accused billionaire Leon Black of sexual assault and sued him for defamation is parting methods along with her high-profile attorneys, courtroom information present.

In 2021, Guzel Ganieva filed a lawsuit in opposition to the personal fairness mogul and onetime pal of sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, alleging that he raped and abused her throughout their six-year relationship and coerced her into signing an NDA.

Black, 71, denied Ganieva’s claims and accused her of extortion. “The reality is that I’ve been extorted by Ms. Ganieva for a few years and I made substantial financial funds to her, based mostly on her threats to go public regarding our relationship, in an try to spare my household from public embarrassment,” Black stated in a previous assertion.

Jeanne Christensen, an lawyer for Ganieva and associate at Wigdor LLP, filed a courtroom affirmation on Wednesday saying her agency was withdrawing from the case.

“To this point, discovery is incomplete, and no depositions have taken place,” Christensen said. “As such, a trial date is probably going a couple of yr away. Ms. Ganieva may have ample time to proceed in discovery and proceed with this litigation if Wigdor LLP is permitted to withdraw as counsel now.”

Christensen added that on Tuesday, Ganieva “knowledgeable Wigdor LLP of her resolution to terminate our illustration and that she intends to proceed professional se.” Ganieva, she famous, graduated from legislation college however isn’t admitted to follow in any state.

Wigdor LLP’s lien will make it tough for Ganieva to search out different attorneys prepared to tackle her case.

The lawyer stated Wigdor had “different skilled causes for withdrawing from illustration as there was an irrevocable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship. Such circumstances are also enough to warrant withdrawal.”

“We can’t elucidate these causes with out violating confidentiality,” Christensen stated, including that they may additional focus on the matter in a personal listening to with the choose.

The submitting states that Wigdor LLP has a lien on Ganieva’s case, so the agency would recuperate a portion of any awards or settlement she receives because of the litigation.

Christensen declined to remark.

Susan Estrich, an lawyer for Black, stated, “As now we have stated all alongside, Ms. Ganieva’s allegations in opposition to Mr. Black are demonstrably false and this lawsuit by no means ought to have been introduced. We have now no touch upon Wigdor’s resolution to withdraw.”

Nonetheless, one supply with data of the scenario informed The Every day Beast that Wigdor LLP’s lien will make it tough for Ganieva to search out different attorneys prepared to tackle her case. “That ought to inform you numerous about this and counsel it isn’t an amicable finish,” the particular person stated. “She is now representing herself.”

Christensen and Wigdor LLP additionally symbolize Cheri Pierson, who claims in a lawsuit that Black raped her at Epstein’s New York mansion. Pierson’s accusations have been beforehand talked about in Ganieva’s filings however beneath a pseudonym. Her criticism, which is pending, additionally names Epstein’s property as a defendant.

The saga involving Ganieva and Black—who stepped down from his personal fairness agency Apollo International Administration after it probed his $158 million in funds to Epstein—has included two different courtroom battles.

In October 2021, Black filed a federal lawsuit accusing Ganieva and Wigdor of defamation and racketeering and claimed they labored to “line their very own pockets” by falsely tying him to Epstein. He additionally accused his Apollo co-founder Josh Harris of conspiring with Ganieva to plant damaging tales about him within the press, an allegation Harris denied and which his spokesperson referred to as “determined and absurd.”

Final June, U.S. District Choose Paul Engelmayer dismissed Black’s swimsuit as “manifestly poor,” and an appeals courtroom upheld the choice this month.

In the meantime, in October 2022, Black filed one other criticism in opposition to Ganieva and her agency in Manhattan Supreme Courtroom that accused the ex-model of a breach of contract over the $9.2 million he paid her through their hush settlement. It additionally accused Wigdor of tortious interference with Ganieva’s NDA, saying the agency “induced and inspired” their shopper to “repeatedly breach” her contract with Black. The case is ongoing.

Black argued that Ganieva’s amended criticism within the defamation case contained much more “fabrications” in opposition to him, together with claims that he kidnapped her in 2008 and flew her to Palm Seaside, Florida, to fulfill Jeffrey Epstein. The criticism alleges that Ganieva then met Epstein’s worker and alleged co-conspirator Sarah Kellen, who informed her Epstein and Black have been “intercourse addicts” and warned, “It’s important to allow them to do no matter they need with you, and you need to allow them to be with a number of sexual companions if that’s what they need.”

Black’s newest swimsuit stated Ganieva’s claims about Kellen “recognized no documentation, recordings, or different memorialization of the alleged dialog between Ganieva and Kellen some 13 years in the past. And, identical to the block quotes wrongly attributed to Black, on info and perception, the alleged quotations from Kellen are fabrications.”

In a movement to dismiss, attorneys for Wigdor LLP stated that Black had already failed in his try to carry a frivolous “RICO” motion in opposition to them in federal courtroom and was submitting his newest swimsuit “to fulfill his insatiable urge for revenge in opposition to his personal sufferer, Ganieva, and her counsel, Wigdor.”

with reporting by Justin Rohrlich