The lawsuit says the abuse, which included rape, occurred between November 2016 and March 2017, when the men were cellmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan.
The inmate, who is not being identified because he is an alleged sexual assault victim, claims that he and Mr. Zarrab became friends in the jail and that Mr. Zarrab offered to pay for him to retain a private lawyer. He had been represented by a public defender. Mr. Zarrab also had money wired to the inmate’s family in Africa and placed in the inmate’s commissary account, the lawsuit said.
The inmate, who is in his early 60s, “felt helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger” man, the suit says, adding that the inmate was also “too scared and embarrassed at that time to complain or to seek help.”
On March 8, the suit says, after the inmate again was attacked by Mr. Zarrab and began yelling and making noise, other inmates apparently complained to the jail, as did the inmate himself.
“Being in jail is a bad enough experience for someone,” said Mr. Schacht, the inmate’s lawyer, “and this just made his experience so much worse.”
The inmate pleaded guilty in July to one count of conspiring to provide material support for a terrorist group and is awaiting sentencing in federal court.
Mr. Schacht, asked why he had filed the suit the week Mr. Zarrab was testifying in the sanctions case, said the timing was coincidental and largely a factor of his being retained recently to represent the inmate and of conducting his own investigation.
A spokeswoman for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment.