(Reuters) — A federal judge rejected requests to sever JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s lawsuit accusing former executive Jes Staley of concealing what he knew about Jeffrey Epstein from two related lawsuits over its work for the late accused sex offender.
Monday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan is a defeat for Staley, who said the scheduled Oct. 23 trial for all three cases left him too little time to defend against JPMorgan’s “slanderous” accusations.
It is also a defeat for women who claim that Mr. Epstein sexually abused them and are suing the largest U.S. bank.
They claimed that JPMorgan sued Mr. Staley as a means to “harass and intimidate” them into revealing private medical records and communications in their case.
Mr. Epstein was a JPMorgan client from 2000 to 2013. The U.S. Virgin Islands, where the financier had a home, is also suing JPMorgan.
In a separate decision, Judge Rakoff rejected JPMorgan’s request to block the U.S. Virgin Islands from expanding its lawsuit by adding an obstruction charge and a claim that bank executives joked about Mr. Epstein’s interest in young girls.
Mr. Staley is a former JPMorgan private banking chief who later spent six years as CEO of Barclays PLC before resigning in November 2021.
In rejecting a separate trial for JPMorgan’s lawsuit against Mr. Staley, Judge Rakoff called Mr. Staley a “prominent focus” of all three cases and noted how his Washington law firm Williams & Connolly calls itself one of the world’s “premier” litigation firms.
“None of Staley’s whines remotely warrants either a severance or a change in the joint trial date,” Judge Rakoff wrote.
The judge also said Epstein’s accusers “cannot have been blind” to their need to disclose sensitive information.