By K. R. Claviger
Although it lasted almost two hours, not very much happened at today’s Status Conference in the case of the U.S. v. Raniere Et Al.
But it was another nice payday for the horde of defense attorneys who crowded before the presiding judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis, and laughed inwardly to themselves about how easy it is to make thousands of dollars when you’re billing against the Defense Trust Fund that was set up by Clare Bronfman just before she herself got arrested (That Trust Fund pays for the attorneys for all the defendants except Clare – who is apparently paying for her attorneys out of her remaining funds).
A lot of today’s action involved the loquacious but stumbling Marc Agnifilo who continues to look like a lawyerly version of Peter Falk’s Columbo character – albeit with an extra 30-40 pounds thrown in for good measure (Even $3,500 suits can only hide so much).
Most of the day was taken up with oral arguments concerning the various defendants’ motions to dismiss – which have the proverbial snowball’s-chance-in-hell of being granted. And worse yet, all the defense attorneys basically did is rehash the same argument that were contained in the papers they had already filed with the court.
Meanwhile, everyone is waiting for the prosecution to unseal its next superseding indictment. And the prosecution is basically saying that it has nothing to say about that – at least at this point in time.
So, as of right now, the trial is still scheduled to start on March 18th (WARNING: DO NOT BOOK ANY RESERVATIONS BASED ON THAT DATE).
Meanwhile, the defense attorneys are still whining that the prosecution is withholding Brady material – i.e., exculpatory material that would help to exonerate the defendants – and the prosecution is holding fast on its position that it’s fully complying with its discovery obligations.
The bottom line is that despite all the whining, Agnifilo and his cohorts are just going to have to wait for the prosecution to turn over materials when it decides to do so.
Don’t expect any rulings from Judge Garaufis in favor of the defendants because their attorneys have basically resorted to whining in lieu of citing any applicable legal precedents. It’s kind of like watching a coach whose team is behind 42-0 asking the refs for a pass interference call with 40 seconds left in the game.
“C’mon, Coach, let’s all get out of here – and beat the rush-hour traffic”.
Judge Garaufis, however, is suitably respectful to all the defense attorneys – at least while they’re appearing before him in open court.
Meanwhile, he issued another sua sponte order right after today’s hearing that sent a very clear message to Agnifilo and company: “WINTER IS COMING”.
The next hearing is February 6th.