The legal battle between Sullivan & Cromwell and former associate Aaron B. Charney took a dramatic turn Thursday when it emerged in court that Charney had recently destroyed a personal hard drive to which he had e-mailed firm documents.

Charney, previously a fourth-year in Sullivan & Cromwell’s mergers and acquisitions group, filed a pro se suit against the firm last month alleging partners discriminated against him because he is gay. The firm, which has denied the allegations, last week both fired Charney and sued him for allegedly stealing documents and publicly disclosing confidential information about both the firm and its clients.

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