Jes Staley’s lawyer has described “slanderous” allegations that he aided and abetted Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes as “baseless but serious”, after the former executive was sued by JPMorgan Chase, his erstwhile employer.
Brendan Sullivan, who is representing Staley, asked a federal judge in New York for more time to review tens of thousands of documents relating to the case, which was brought after JPMorgan was sued by an alleged Epstein victim and the US Virgin Islands, where the disgraced financier had a home. The lawyer also asked for the case against Staley to be severed from the two against the US bank.
“The allegations against him are slanderous, and the potential damages are astronomical,” Sullivan wrote, adding that since his client was accused of aiding “one of the most notorious criminals in recent American history” the stakes “could hardly be higher”.
The move by Staley to sever his case from JPMorgan’s is the latest salvo in a high-profile dispute over the bank’s decision to retain Epstein as a client for 15 years, before dropping him in 2013.
JPMorgan has called the suits against it “meritless” and subsequently countersued Staley, who was at the bank for decades and for a period managed the relationship with Epstein. Its complaint alleged Staley withheld information about crimes he had witnessed at Epstein’s homes while being involved in an internal review of the late sex offender’s account.
In a separate filing, a lawyer for the unnamed Epstein accuser echoed the request for the case against Staley to be separated, claiming it was brought by JPMorgan to “harass and intimidate” her and others by “seizing on [her] fear” of Staley, who she alleged had also abused her.
Staley would now have access to the victim’s “intimate communications,” the lawyer claimed, as well as private medical records, and the effect of the suit would be to “force Staley back into her life”.
In his rebuttal of the accusations from JPMorgan and the Epstein accuser, Staley’s lawyer said “disproving these false and highly-publicised allegations is of paramount importance to him”, adding that “this court’s scheduling rulings have severely prejudiced [Staley’s] ability to do so”.
He asked the October trial date — which Jed Rakoff, the judge overseeing the case, said last month would take “an act of God” to move — be rescheduled for March 2024.
In a statement, JPMorgan said it made “no sense” to separate Stalely’s case from the others, to which he is “inextricably linked”.
“Jane Doe herself has directly accused him of horrific sexual misconduct and, if true, he must be held accountable,” it said.
Lawyers for Staley did not immediately return a request for comment.
Last month, Rakoff declined to dismiss allegations that JPMorgan benefited from Epstein’s trafficking by ignoring internal warnings after he was arrested for solicitation of a minor in Florida in 2006.
In its countersuit against Staley, JPMorgan has asked the court to make the former executive liable for any damages that might be awarded against it, as well as to claw back tens of millions of dollars in his pay.
Staley, who has denied wrongdoing, is set to be questioned under oath by the bank’s lawyers later this month.
Separately on Thursday, lawyers for JPMorgan subpoenaed Assured Investment Management, formerly known as BlueMountain Capital, where Staley worked after leaving JPMorgan and before becoming chief executive of British bank Barclays, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The existence of the subpoena was first reported by Bloomberg.
The 66-year-old American joined BlueMountain as a managing partner in 2013. He left BlueMountain less than two years later to become chief executive of Barclays in 2015, but resigned after six years following a regulatory investigation in the UK into the way he characterised his relationship with Epstein.
Assured Investment Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Ortenca Aliaj and Antoine Gara in New York