By Luke Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office must turn over to JPMorgan Chase & Co documents relevant to a lawsuit against the bank over its ties to deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a U.S. judge ruled on Friday.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said the privileges and laws asserted by District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office did not apply to the documents sought.
Spokespersons for Bragg and JPMorgan declined to comment.
JPMorgan is being sued by a woman who said she was abused by Epstein and accused America’s biggest bank of enabling her sex trafficking by keeping him as a client from 1998 to 2013, the last five years after she pleaded guilty to a charge prostitution in Florida. .
The New York-based bank has in turn sued former top executive Jes Staley, who was friends with Epstein, with allegations he hid what he knew of his crimes.
Staley expressed regret for befriending Epstein, but denied any knowledge of his wrongdoings.
On March 7, JPMorgan subpoenaed the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for statements made by the woman, known as Jane Doe, or by people who identified Staley as a witness or perpetrator of a sex crime.
Staley’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The prosecutor’s office said it could avoid the subpoena due to several legal privileges and New York state laws guaranteeing grand jury secrecy.
Later Friday, Rakoff scheduled a hearing on whether or not to certify Epstein’s victims as a class, which would allow them to jointly sue JPMorgan.
Epstein died in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The New York medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; editing by Grant McCool)