Leon Black will not file a countersuit after all against the former Russian model who accused him of rape, according to court documents.
Black, the founder of Apollo Global Management, had initially filed a countersuit in July that said he had “irrefutable documentary evidence” that model Guzel Ganieva defamed him when she accused him of raping her.
But after she amended her initial complaint against him — adding explosive allegations that Black once flew her to Florida to have sex with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein — Black’s lawyers said in a court filing they are no longer going to file a counterclaim.
In a little-noticed filing in New York Supreme Court last week, Black said he did not “intend to assert counterclaims at this time.”
According to the filing, Black simply wants the opportunity to defend himself — and doesn’t want a counterclaim getting in the way of that, delaying the effort.
“His priority is to proceed with discovery as expeditiously as possible, to defend and vindicate himself against [her] willfully false claims,” Black’s attorney, Danya Perry of Perry Guha, said in the filing.
Sources familiar with the matter tell The Post that Black’s team will file a response to Ganieva’s amended claim by next week’s Wednesday deadline.
Ganieva’s attorney, Jeanne Christensen, wrote in court papers that she isn’t buying it. She claims it was obvious Black wanted to tarnish her client in the court of public opinion by filing his original countersuit.
“When Black opted to allege legal claims against Ganieva, he did so on purpose, and with the hope that he would receive favorable opinions in the media and by the public for aggressively ‘defending and vindicating himself,’” Christensen said in a late Tuesday filing.
Stephen Bourtin, a lawyer who has worked with both sexual harassment victims and defendants, told The Post that Black’s move to abandon his countersuit was “very unusual.”
“One might conclude Black is trying to poison the well and not follow through,” said Bourtin, who works with the Boyd Law Group.
Black was served with requests for documents and information by Ganieva in July. Black hasn’t produced a single document in response, Christensen said in the court papers.
Black’s team counters in its filing that he’s been willing to provide documents, but only if he’s guaranteed confidentiality, which Ganieva hasn’t agreed to.
As The Post reported exclusively in April, Ganieva first burst into public view in March, when she posted a series of Twitter messages claiming to have been forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement relating to allegations that Black “sexually harassed and abused” her.
Black responded publicly alleging she was instead extorting money from him.
She then filed the defamation suit now being litigated in New York State Supreme Court.
Looming over the case are Black’s connections to Jeffrey Epstein. Ganieva has alleged that Black wanted her to have a threesome with Epstein. Black has denied the allegations.
In January, Black agreed to hand the role of Apollo CEO to his co-founder Marc Rowan after an internal Apollo report revealed Black had paid Epstein $158 million for tax advice and estate-planning services after Epstein’s 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution.