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Ex-JPMorgan exec’s ‘whines’ won’t work: ‘Key figure’ in Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking case loses bid to budge trial

Jes Staley and Jeffrey Epstein

Jes Staley and Jeffrey Epstein (Staley photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File; Epstein via DOJ)

No matter how much he “whines,” JPMorgan Chase’s former senior executive Jes Staley cannot move and delay his reckoning in litigation accusing the bank of knowingly profiting from Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

The lacerating opinion describes Staley as a “key figure” in a pair of lawsuits against the bank, filed by Epstein victims and the Virgin Islands government.

Before becoming the CEO of Barclays Bank, Staley ran the investment and private banking branches of JPMorgan, which counted Epstein as a customer between 1998 and 2013. In that capacity, Staley interacted with Epstein frequently and seemingly, intimately. British regulators found that Staley and Epstein exchanged some 1,200 emails between 2008 and 2012. Staley fired off some of those exchanges from Epstein’s private properties, including Little St. James, while Epstein was still incarcerated.

“So when all hell breaks lo[o]se, and the world is crumbling, I will come here and be at peace,” Staley wrote Epstein from the Virgin Islands on Nov. 1, 2009. “Presently, I’m in the hot tub with a glass of white wine. This is an amazing place. Truly amazing. Next time, we’re here together. I owe you much. And I deeply appreciate our friendship. I have few so profound.”

The lead plaintiff in the Epstein survivors’ lawsuit, Jane Doe 1, accused Staley of sexual assault, her attorney David Boies revealed at a recent hearing. Staley has not been charged with any crime. His attorneys didn’t immediately respond to emails requesting comment.

Roughly a month ago, JPMorgan sued Staley, claiming the ex-executive “concealed his personal activities” with Epstein. That lawsuit demands that Staley indemnify the bank for the two lawsuits, forfeit his compensation from the time of his “disloyalty,” and punitive damages.

Staley urged the judge to sever his case from the two lawsuits against JPMorgan and postpone his trial date.

Senior U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, a famously tough critic of Wall Street malfeasance after the 2008 financial crisis, would not be moved.

“Though not always identified by name, Staley is a key figure in the allegations made in the plaintiff’s and co-plaintiff’s complaints, as well as the sole defendant named in the third-party complaint filed by defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.,” Rakoff wrote. “Regardless of any putative severance, he and the facts relating to him will therefore be a prominent focus of the trial of the underlying case between plaintiff Jane Doe 1, co-plaintiff the Government of the United States Virgin Islands, and JP Morgan. Under these circumstances, it would make no sense to sever the case against Staley.”

Rakoff noted that Staley retained the “400-attorney” law firm of Williams & Connolly, “recognized as one of the world’s premier litigation firms,” quoting their promotional material.

The judge added that “none of Staley’s whines remotely warrants either a severance or a change in the joint trial date.”

The Epstein survivors supported trying Staley’s case separately for different reasons.

Their attorneys argued that the “true reason” that JPMorgan brought “Staley into the lawsuit is to harass and intimidate not only Jane Doe but also other Epstein victims,” by “forc[ing] her to share private medical records and her most intimate communications with one of her abusers.”

Rakoff noted, however, that the survivors must have known they would have had to share sensitive information during discovery when they filed their lawsuit.

“The proper way to handle this is by making such discovery subject to confidential treatment, and, indeed, JPMorgan represents that it ‘has therefore agreed to every request to make matters confidential’ made by Jane Doe,” the judge wrote.

When Rakoff initially set a trial date of Oct. 23, 2023, the judge told the parties that it will take an “act of God” for him to move it. He only has hardened his stance since that time — writing that the trial date “will not be moved.”

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."