U.S. Virgin Islands governor to be deposed

Albert Bryan Jr., governor of the US Virgin Islands, speaks during the SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, US, on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. The summit is to establish new connections and opportunities to grow through investing in the US, according to the organizers.

Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands is scheduled to be deposed next month in a civil lawsuit by that territory’s government against JPMorgan Chase over sex trafficking by the late predator Jeffrey Epstein, according to a court filing Tuesday.

The filing appears to be the first mention of the planned June 6 deposition by Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. in the suit, which is pending in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The filing does not indicate why Bryan’s testimony under oath is being sought in the case. A source familiar with the situation told CNBC that JPMorgan requested the deposition.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is scheduled to be deposed in the suit on Friday in New York.

Judge Jed Rakoff, who is presiding over the case, last week authorized the Virgin Islands to serve a subpoena for Tesla CEO Elon Musk on his electric car company, seeking documents that Musk may have showing any communications involving him, Epstein and JPMorgan.

That subpoena is based on suspicion by the territory that Epstein may have referred Musk or tried to refer him to the bank as a client.

The Virgin Islands suit alleges that JPMorgan facilitated sex trafficking by its long-time banking customer Epstein, and benefited from it. The bank denies those allegations.

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Epstein maintained a home on a private island in the territory, where he sexually abused many young women over the years. He used money from his JPMorgan accounts to pay women and fly them there.

The lawsuit was filed in late December by then-Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George, who a month earlier had obtained a $105 million settlement from Epstein’s estate. Days after she filed that suit, Bryan fired George, who had been AG for four years.

The governor terminated George reportedly because she failed to alert him that she planned to sue JPMorgan, which is the largest bank in the United States.

Jeffrey Epstein’s former home on the island of Little St. James in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Emily Michot | Miami Herald | Getty Images

Despite George’s firing, the Virgin Islands has continued to aggressively pursue its litigation against the bank.

On Tuesday, there was another in a series of private telephone conferences with Judge Rakoff over the case.

A public docket entry summarized the outcome of that conference, which included lawyers for the Virgin Islands, JPMorgan, former JPMorgan executive Jes Staley and an Epstein accuser who has a separate, similar lawsuit pending against the bank. JPMorgan is trying to shift any legal liability it may have in the suit to Staley, who was a point of contact for Epstein at the bank.

“The deposition of Albert Bryan, Jr. is ordered to proceed on June 6,” that docket entry says.

The entry also says that “all parties other than JP Morgan are ordered to contact former officers and directors of JP Morgan only through counsel.”

CNBC requested comment from lawyers for the Virgin Islands and from JPMorgan about the conference Tuesday.

Charges against Jeffrey Epstein were announced on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.

Stephanie Keith | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Epstein, 66, died from suicide in a Manhattan jail in August 2019, a month after he was arrested and charged in Manhattan federal court with child sex trafficking.

A former friend of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Epstein previously pleaded guilty to a Florida state charge in 2008 of soliciting sex from an underage girl. Epstein was sentenced to 13 months in jail in that case.

His prior criminal case and stint in jail, which were known to JPMorgan at the time, came in the middle of his tenure as a customer of the bank, where he maintained accounts from 1998 until the bank severed its relationship with him in 2013.

Epstein became a customer of Deutsche Bank after that.

Deutsche Bank last week agreed to settle a Manhattan federal court lawsuit filed by another Epstein accuser who alleged that bank enabled and benefitted from his sex trafficking. Deutsche Bank will pay Epstein victims $75 million in that deal.

Deutsche Bank in 2020 agreed to pay a $150 million fine to New York’s financial regulator for its dealings with Epstein and other issues

“We acknowledge our error onboarding Epstein in 2013, and the weaknesses in our processes, and have learnt from our mistakes and our shortcomings,” bank spokesman Dylan Riddle said last week.

— CNBC’s Eamon Javers contributed to this report.

NBC archive footage shows Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein in 1992

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