Lara Pomerantz: 5 things to know about assistant US Attorney in Ghislaine Maxwell trial
The federal prosecutor who delivered the opening statement in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell said she 'served' minors to Jeffery Epstein
MANHATTEN, NEW YORK CITY: "She put them at ease and made them feel safe, all so that they could be sexually abused by a middle-aged man. There were times when she was in the room when it happened." These were the words delivered by the prosecution in its opening statement during the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell at the Manhatten Federal Court on November 29. They were delivered by Assistant US Attorney Lara Pomerantz, one of the many federal prosecutors on the case.
Audrey Strauss is the lead prosecutor in the case, which could see the socialite spend the rest of her life behind bars if convicted. The highly contentious trial has been slammed by the defense, with Maxwell's team calling her a "scapegoat" for Jeffery Epstein. However, the court has refused to see it that way and repeatedly denied her bail ahead of the trial.
Pomerantz is one of the four prosecutors in the case, which is being presided over by Judge Alison J Nathan. Pomerantz is no stranger to high-profile cases though, having dealt with many in her years with the Department of Justice. Here's everything we know about her.
#1: Alumni of Duke and Pennsylvania Law School
According to records, Pomerantz studied at Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In 2006, she was one of the 15 Duke graduates to receive a Fullbright scholarship, to study "the future of sex education in the Dominican Republic." After graduating summa cum laude, she graduated cum laude from Pennsylvania in 2010, the same year she was admitted to the bar in New Jersey. A year later, she was admitted to the bar in New York state.
#2: Works for SDNY's Public Corruption unit
Pomerantz was hired by the Southern District of New York (SDNY) in 2015 and has been with the DoJ since then. Currently, Pomerantz works with the SDNY's Public Corruption Unit, which often works in partnership with the FBI and other federal, state, and city agencies. Normally, the unit deals with bribery, corruption, embezzlement, and fraud. So how did Pomerantz end up with the Epstein (and now Maxwell) case?
According to Law and Crime, most cases are normally handled by The Violent and Organized Crime Unit. "The fact that it is staffed out of Public Corruption tells me that a public official–past or present–is involved in at least some capacity," legal analyst Elie Honig told Law and Crime. So far, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Prince Andrew have all been linked to Epstein's sex ring, so it's likely their names could be involved somehow.
#3: Has a history of sexual offense cases
The Maxwell case won't be the first time Pomerantz will be prosecuting a sex trafficking case. In August 2016, she oversaw the prosecution of six men who were charged with trafficking minors, when Pomerantz was attached with the General Crimes Unit. In September 2020, she also led the prosecution of UN employee Karim Elkorany for attempting to cover up sexual assaults. A quick look through the DoJ's website shows she has been involved in numerous sexual offense-related cases.
#4: Spent few years in private practice
Before working for the DoJ, Pomerantz was an employee at the New York law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. It's unclear what her area of expertise was while at the firm, and we could find few details about her time there. Martindale lists her area of practice simply as litigation.
#5: Married to Jonah Ari Peppiatt
In 2015, Pomerantz and Jonah Ari Peppiatt were married in New York. According to data, he is also a lawyer and works on corporate restructuring and bankruptcies at Davis Polk. He is an alumnus of the New York University School of Law, and also studied MBA at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business and BA at Tufts University. It's not clear how the two met, with the only confirmation of their marriage coming in a New York Times article.