72 Hours Before JPMorgan Offered $290 Million to Make Epstein Claims Go Away, a Lawyer Disclosed that the Bank Had Withheld 1500 Documents
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 26, 2023 ~
Sigrid McCawley is a Managing Partner at law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, which has been representing the sexually assaulted and/or sex-trafficked victims of Jeffrey Epstein for years, including Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who settled claims against Prince Andrew last year for an undisclosed sum of money. Giuffre alleged in her lawsuit that Epstein had trafficked her and forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was just 17.
McCawley is also a key lawyer on the case styled as Jane Doe 1 v JPMorgan Chase in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. That lawsuit alleges that JPMorgan Chase was for years aware that Epstein was a sexual predator of underage girls, kept him as a client nonetheless, and functioned as a cash conduit for his crimes while ignoring anti-money laundering laws. The JPMorgan internal emails that have been released in court filings buttress those allegations.
Epstein died in a Manhattan jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges. The Medical Examiner ruled the death a suicide.
This past Monday, McCawley’s law partner, David Boies, announced that the two sides had agreed to settle the case for $290 million. The exact terms of the settlement have yet to be filed with the court but Judge Jed Rakoff, who is assigned to the case, approved it as a Class Action on Monday, meaning multiple Epstein victims may be able to receive monetary relief under the settlement.
McCawley is known to go for the jugular during depositions and to be in full command of the documents obtained during discovery – if she is given access to those documents. On Friday, June 9, just 72 hours before the case was abruptly announced as reaching a settlement, McCawley had filed a breathtaking and scathing letter with the court regarding the stonewalling behavior of JPMorgan with discovery materials.
In her June 9 letter, McCawley revealed that the Court has previously warned JPMorgan in a May 12 Order that it could be held “in contempt of Court” if it did not file discovery materials in a timely manner going forward. McCawley also dropped the bombshell that JPMorgan had withheld 1,500 documents prior to her deposition of the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon. McCawley wrote:
“Despite the Court’s clear warning, JPMC still failed to expeditiously produce documents from the custodial files of key witnesses, some of whom had already been deposed, for strategic reasons. For example, the weekend prior to the close of fact discovery, and immediately after the May 26 deposition of its CEO Jamie Dimon, JPMC produced 1,500 documents, some of which came from the custodial files of witnesses whose depositions had long passed. This pattern of producing documents from the custodial files of witnesses after their depositions has persisted throughout the discovery period.”
One of the documents withheld by the bank is described by McCawley as “one of the most relevant and responsive documents produced to date….” She also goes on to characterize the bank’s motive for withholding this document as follows:
“…JPMC strategically withheld it from Plaintiff until she could no longer make meaningful use of it in examining JPMC’s employees.”
As a result of the belated production of key documents, McCawley was asking in her letter to recall Jamie Dimon for a second deposition – which could have potentially put the Teflon Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan in legal jeopardy. (During Dimon’s tenure at the helm of the largest federally-insured bank in the U.S., the bank has admitted to an unprecedented five felony counts brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and paid tens of billions of dollars in fines for these and other acts of egregious misconduct.)
Dimon has denied ever hearing of Epstein or being aware that he had dozens of accounts at JPMorgan Chase until Epstein’s 2019 arrest on sex trafficking charges – despite the fact that the bank’s General Counsel, Stephen Cutler, worked in the office next door to Dimon and was very much aware of the reputational threat that Epstein and his accounts represented to the bank. An internal email produced during discovery showed that as far back as 2011, Cutler was aware of the Epstein problem. Cutler had written in an email referring to Epstein that “This is not an honorable person in any way. He should not be a client.” Epstein’s verified account relationship at JPMorgan existed from at least 1998 to 2013.
Another passage in the McCawley letter raises the possibility that JPMorgan could be held sua sponte in contempt of Court by Judge Rakoff for the egregious withholding of documents. McCawley notes in her letter that JPMorgan produced a 22-page timeline on May 28 – two days after Dimon’s deposition – “that references other documents that JPMC has still not produced.”
A troubling number of key passages in the McCawley letter have been redacted – as they also have been in numerous JPMorgan Chase internal emails and other documents, including multiple full pages of Jamie Dimon’s deposition transcript.
Given JPMorgan’s sordid history of keeping Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi fraud going for years by looking the other way at brazen money laundering in his business account at the bank and giving him loans when he was close to running out of money, the American public has not just the right but an overarching obligation to demand transparency from this bank and this court in the Epstein matter.