Prosecution Cites Admission By Defense Attorneys That They Cannot Be Ready For March 18th Start Date
By K. R. Claviger
Based on a flurry of filings that took place last Friday, it looks like the currently scheduled March 18th “Start Date” for the trial of the NXIVM Numbskulls is going to get postponed.
But the presiding judge in the case, Nicholas G. Garaufis, has not yet issued a ruling on this matter.
The latest development started with a letter to Judge Garaufis from Justine A. Harris, one of the attorneys representing Kathy Russell.
In her January 11th filing, Ms. Harris began by noting that “…we write on behalf of Kathy Russell to respectfully request that the trial date be adjourned”. She later noted that Clare Bronfman and Nancy Salzman concur with Russell’s request.
Harris then went on to reference an earlier filing by Russell, Clare Bronfman, and Nancy Salzman in which they asked to have their trial severed from that of that Keith Raniere (and presumably Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman) – and to have their trial postponed (Because this filing was done “under seal”, we are nor certain of its exact wording).
Although Harris did not provide Judge Garaufis with a proposed new “Start Date” for the trial of Russell, Bronfman and Nancy Salzman, she did request that it be a date at least 90 days after the government’s disclosure of its (RICO) enterprise evidence.
Per the current court-approved schedule, the prosecution is supposed to file its Enterprise Letter on or before January 30, 2019. Thus, if the court were to grant Harris’ pending request, then the earliest date for the start of the trial would be April 30, 2019.
And, if as expected – and, indeed, as promised by the prosecution – there is a superseding indictment in the case, that could push the “Start Date” back even further.
In response to Harris’ filing, the prosecution immediately wrote to Judge Garaufis to inform him that “…it would be appropriate for the Court to adjourn …. the current trial date”.
In doing so, the prosecution quoted from the original sealed filing to indicate that the attorneys representing Russell, Bronfman and Nancy Salzman had expressed “…grave concerns that the March date is not feasible, and that they do not have sufficient time to prepare for trial in a manner consistent with their ethical obligations to their clients.”
The prosecution also pointed out that another reason to postpone the “Start Date’ for the trial is because it will not be known for several weeks just how many trials there will be.
In addition to Russell, Bronfman and Nancy Salzman requesting separate trials from Raniere (and presumably Mack), Lauren Salzman made a similar request (It is not known whether Russell, Bronfman and the Mom-and-Daughter Salzman duo are amenable to being tried together).
In its filing, the prosecution also indicated that it intends to oppose all motions for severance – thereby indicating that there may not, in fact, be any plea deals in the works for Nancy Salzman and/or Lauren Salzman.
To further complicate matters, Keith Raniere’s lead counsel, Marc Agnifilo, immediately filed a vigorous objection to any delay in the “Start Date” for the trial.
In his missive to the court, Agnifilo indicated that his lugubrious client still wants “…a prompt trial, which he has done since the very moment he was kidnapped in Mexico by Mexican police at the insistence of the U.S. Department of Justice, and forcibly ‘deported’ at gunpoint” (And “Yes”, believe it or not, that is an exact quote from Agnifilo’s filing).
Agnifilo then went on to incorrectly state that it’s the prosecution that has requested a postponement – when, in reality, it’s Russell, Bronfman and Nancy Salzman who have done so as part of their motion to have their trial severed from that of Raniere (and presumably Mack).
And in a soapbox worthy crescendo, Agnifilo ended his filing with the following: “The Government’s adjournment bag is now empty. There are no more defendants to add, there are no more superseding indictments on which to ruminate. It has to try the case. No more excuses. No more delay. For the reasons that we have repeated time and again for the past nine months in written form and in open court, we demand a trial on the agreed-upon, firm trial date, March 18, 2019”.
Vanguard had to love that fiery rhetoric (He may have even dictated it to Agnifilo).
But soon, we’ll find out how Judge Garaufis reacts to “demands” from the petulant but well-tanned and very well-paid Mr. Agnifilo.