Leon Black wants comms between accuser’s lawyer and Fanatics’ Michael Rubin

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Former Apollo Global Management Chief Leon Black, who is defending against a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who accused him of sexual assault, has served subpoenas demanding all communication between the woman’s law firm and several individuals, including Fanatics owner Michael Rubin.

The law firm, in a Wednesday filing in New York Supreme Court, asked for the subpoenas to be dismissed. Black has alleged in a separate federal lawsuit filed in New York’s Southern District that deep-pocketed individuals or entities are funding the woman’s lawsuit against him to “destroy” his reputation. He didn’t name the individuals or entities in the federal suit.

But he’s asked for the court to compel Wigdor, the law firm representing Guzel Ganieva, to turn over any communications between the firm and Rubin, along with a list of other people: Josh Harris, who co-founded Apollo Global Management with Black; PR heavyweight Steven Rubenstein; Finsbury Glover Hering communications consultant Paul Holmes; and PROvoke Media, where another Paul Holmes is listed as a founder. 

The Wednesday filing says Wigdor, the law firm, was served with a subpoena for the communications on Nov. 17. Representatives for three of the four men slammed Black’s request in statements to The Post, calling it absurd and saying they’re not related to the case. One couldn’t be reached.

Guzel Ganieva
Guzel Ganieva, a former Russian model, has alleged that Leon Black sexually assaulted her.
Patrick McMullan

On Oct. 28, Black filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, lawsuit against Wigdor and Ganieva and also unidentified third parties. 

Black in 2021 resigned as chairman and CEO of Apollo Global Management, and did not run for re-election as chairman of the Museum of Modern Art, after Ganieva tweeted that Black had sexually abused her. Black has strongly denied the allegations, while admitting to a consensual affair. Meanwhile, Ganieva in June filed a defamation suit against Black.

As to the latest filing, a spokesman for Rubin told The Post: “Michael Rubin does not know Ms. Ganieva, has never met or spoken with her or anyone representing her, has no financial or any other dealings with her or her representatives. It is completely preposterous that Michael Rubin’s name is even associated with this.”

A Harris spokesman said: “These allegations are both desperate and absurd. Josh Harris played no role whatsoever in the lawsuits between Mr. Black and Ms. Ganieva. He does not know Ms. Ganieva, has never met or spoken with her or anyone representing her, has no financial or any other dealings with her or her representatives, and had no involvement of any kind in the filing of any claims by her.”

Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin speaking at an event, holding a microphone.
Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin says Leon Black’s request for communications is “completely preposterous.”
Getty Images for Fanatics

Rubenstein’s law firm said in response to the subpoena: “Mr. Rubenstein does not know the plaintiff in this case, Ms. Ganieva. He has never met her, spoken with her, or corresponded with her or any representative of hers, directly or indirectly.” His firm hasn’t done work for, or on behalf of, Ganieva, according to the statement.

Finsbury Glover Hering said in a statement to The Post: “Neither Paul Holmes nor anyone at our firm has engaged either directly or indirectly with Ms. Ganieva or anyone associated with her, whether in connection with her allegations and the counterclaims in this dispute or in any other regard. Any assertions to the contrary are simply wrong.”

Harris and Black were co-founders and well-known rivals at Apollo Global Management. It was Harris who had a hand earlier this year in pushing Black out of the firm, sources told The Post.

Harris and Rubin, meanwhile, are owners of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team and the New Jersey Devils hockey team.

Wigdor in the Wednesday court filing moved to quash the subpoenas. “No responsive documents or information could be produced because it does not exist. Wigdor has not had any communications, much less received or provided any payments to, any of these persons or entities.”

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