Judge rejects bid to disqualify JPMorgan law firm in Epstein litigation


by Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday rejected an attempt to disqualify the law firm defending JPMorgan Chase & Co, which claims it was abused by Jeffrey Epstein and that the bank Had assisted the late financier in sex trafficking.

US District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said the firm did not have a conflict of interest with Wilmarhall because it once represented an anti-sex trafficking group that supported Courtney Wilde, one of Epstein’s accusers.

Rakoff also found no evidence that Wild gave Wilmerhall confidential information that was critical to the JPMorgan case, and said the bank was disqualified “so late in the trial,” five months before the October 23 trial. “Great prejudice” would have to be faced.

The disqualification was requested by Brad Edwards, who represents Epstein accusers in a proposed class action against JPMorgan. His request was joined by named plaintiff Jane Doe 1.

Edwards and other attorneys representing the accused did not immediately respond to requests for comment. JP Morgan and Wilmarhall did not immediately respond to similar requests.

WilmerHale’s other client, the anti-sex trafficking group ECPAT-USA, filed legal briefs with the US Supreme Court in 2021 supporting Wilde’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to void a 2007 settlement that freed Epstein. was immune from federal prosecution.

The Washington, DC-based law firm is also defending JPMorgan against a lawsuit from the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein allegedly abused women on a private island.

Epstein was a client of JPMorgan from 1998 to 2013. The New York-based bank has denied assisting in his sexual abuse.

In August 2019, Epstein killed himself at the age of 66 in his Manhattan jail cell, where he was awaiting trial for sex trafficking.

The case is Jane Doe 1 v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-10019.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Sonali Paul)

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