Woman ends lawsuit claiming Leon Black raped her in Jeffrey Epstein's mansion

FILE PHOTO: Leon Black is shown at a conference in 2014
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By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A woman who accused billionaire Leon Black of raping her two decades ago at the Manhattan mansion of disgraced financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has ended her lawsuit against the Apollo Global Management co-founder.

Cheri Pierson dismissed her claims in a so-called stipulation of discontinuance filed with a New York state court in Manhattan on Thursday.

The dismissal is with prejudice, meaning Pierson cannot sue again, and she cannot recoup her costs. Black dropped a related appeal on Friday.

A lawyer for Pierson did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Danya Perry, a lawyer for Black, confirmed the dismissal of Pierson's case.

Black's legal team rejected Pierson's claims as baseless from the outset. "I have never met Ms. Pierson," Black said in a statement provided by a spokesperson on Tuesday. "I have no further comment."

In her November 2022 complaint, Pierson alleged that Epstein arranged for her in 2002 to give Black a massage for $300.

She said Black, who was 8 inches (20.32 cm) taller and weighed more than twice as much, physically overwhelmed her and left her in "excruciating pain."

Black, 72, was worth $13.6 billion on Tuesday according to Forbes magazine.

He is still pursuing a malicious prosecution lawsuit against the Wigdor law firm, which represented Pierson and two other women who said Black raped them, which he denies.

The lawsuit by one of the women, former Russian model Guzel Ganieva, was dismissed last May, while a lawsuit by an autistic woman who chose to remain anonymous is still pending.

Black left Apollo, the private equity firm, in 2021 after a review by an outside law firm found he had paid Epstein $158 million for tax and estate planning.

He also reached a $62.5 million settlement with the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home, to avoid a possible lawsuit.

Epstein died by suicide in August 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.

The case is Pierson v Black, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 952002/2022.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Stephen Coates)