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Judge Dismisses Tranny Sex Assault Claim Against Financier Jeffrey Epstein

[NY Law Journal] A Manhattan judge has thrown out a sexual assault suit filed by a 24-year-old transgendered model against financier Jeffrey Epstein on statute-of-limitations grounds.

Supreme Court Justice Edward H. Lehner rejected plaintiff Maximilia Cordero’s motion to toll the statute on the basis of her insanity, finding that her ability to function within society demonstrated she was not “insane” under the state guidelines.

“[T]he fact that she has executed numerous contracts, verified several complaints, and executed affidavits in this and other actions instituted by her demonstrates that she is able to protect her legal rights and does not lack an over-all ability to function in society,” Justice Lehner held in Cordero v. Epstein, 113903/07. “Accordingly, the court finds that she is not entitled to the tolling provisions of CPLR 208 based on her alleged insanity.”

The decision will be published Tuesday.

Mr. Epstein, a Coney Island native who became a Dalton School teacher and Bear Stearns trader, opened in 1982 the financial management firm J. Epstein and Co., which was later renamed Financial Trust Co.

Following allegations in 2005 that he solicited sex acts from underage girls, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty in June to soliciting prostitution. A number of civil suits by his alleged victims ensued.

In the present case, Ms. Cordero, 21, claims that in 2000, when she was 16, Mr. Epstein lured her to his Palm Beach mansion, took off his clothes and requested a massage.

Shortly thereafter, the defendant began grabbing her and demanding oral sex, according to her complaint.

Ms. Cordero alleges she engaged in additional sexual acts later that year with Mr. Epstein.

However, Ms. Cordero did not file suit until October 2007, more than six years after the alleged encounters.

In the present proceedings, Mr. Epstein moved to dismiss and Ms. Cordero moved for leave to serve a second amended complaint, alleging violations of New York City’s gender-bias laws, which carry a longer statute of limitations.

In a decision last week, Justice Lehner granted Mr. Epstein’s motion and rejected Ms. Cordero’s.

Justice Lehner’s ruling turned on the medical testimony on insanity, which consisted solely of the testimony of the defense’s physician, Robert Goldstein.

Dr. Goldstein concluded that any mental condition suffered by Ms. Cordero was due to drug addiction.

“Here, the credible testimony of Dr. Goldstein demonstrated that plaintiff has never been and is not now ‘insane’ under the meaning of that term in §208,” Justice Lehner wrote. “The effects of her drug addiction do not establish insanity.”

The court also rejected Ms. Cordero’s motion to serve another amended complaint. The judge found that, among other things, Ms. Cordero failed to allege any acts that demonstrated hostility based on gender.

Gerald B. Lefcourt represented Mr. Epstein. Mr. Lefcourt said in an interview that Mr. Epstein had decided to fight this case to the end, in order “to make sure to put an end to the frivolous lawsuits that were just coming out of the woodwork” because of the high-profile allegations against him.

Jacqueline Mari represented Ms. Cordero. She did not return a call seeking comment.

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