Lawyers working for Jes Staley have accused JP Morgan of “slanderous” attacks against the ex-Barclays boss, saying allegations that he aided sex trafficking operations run by the late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein were “baseless but serious”.
Staley’s lawyer made the comments in a Manhattan district court filing as he urged a judge to give his client more time to review thousands of documents related to JP Morgan’s lawsuit against him, and sever that case from two lawsuits lodged against the US bank over its alleged role in aiding Epstein’s crimes.
The filings argued that the “breakneck pace” of the case schedule, which is set for trial on 23 October, was “unnecessary and prejudicial” and would give Staley “grossly insufficient time” to defend himself.
“The allegations against him are baseless but serious: Mr. Staley is accused of aiding and abetting Jeffrey Epstein, one of the most notorious criminals in recent American history,” Staley’s lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, said in the document, adding that the claims were also “slanderous, and the potential damages are astronomical”.
Two lawsuits aimed at JP Morgan claim Staley – who previously worked for the US bank – “observed victims personally”, including “visiting young girls at Epstein’s apartments”, and exchanged 1,200 emails with the late financier that included photos of young women in seductive poses and referring to women by the names of Disney princesses.
Those lawsuits have been brought by the US Virgin Islands, where much of the abuse is said to have taken place at a home owned by Epstein on a private island, and also by a woman known only as Jane Doe 1.
But the US bank is suing Staley in turn, saying he should be made liable for any penalties the US bank may face as a result of the lawsuits. It is also trying to claw back millions of dollars he was paid while working for JP Morgan.
“The stakes could hardly be higher for Mr Staley,” Sullivan said in the filing, which is asking the court to delay the trial until March 2024.“Disproving these false and highly-publicised allegations is of paramount importance to him. Yet this court’s scheduling rulings have severely prejudiced his ability to do so,” the lawyer said.
However, a JP Morgan spokesperson argued against the call to separate Staley’s case from its own, saying he was “inextricably linked to these cases – it makes no sense to separate him”.
“Jane Doe herself has directly accused him of horrific sexual misconduct and, if true, he must be held accountable,” it added.
JP Morgan has previously said that lawsuits against the US bank were “misplaced and without merit”, adding that the “plaintiffs have made troubling allegations concerning the conduct of our former employee, and if true he should be held responsible for his actions”.
Staley developed a relationship with Epstein in 2000 while he was working for JP Morgan’s private bank, which handles wealthy clients, and stayed in contact with Epstein for seven years after Epstein was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008.
However, the banker said their contact started to taper off after he left JP Morgan in 2013. He was appointed chief executive of Barclays two years later but unexpectedly resigned in November 2021 over draft findings of a UK regulatory investigation into his relationship with the convicted sex offender. However, a formal challenge by Staley has meant the conclusions of that investigation have not yet been released.
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