Judge Nicholas Garaufis

Judge Garaufis Sets Dates For Curcio Hearings – And Appoints Attorneys For Clare Bronfman’s Co-Defendants

U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, the presiding judge in the case of U.S. v. Raniere Et Al, has now scheduled the Curcio hearings for each of Clare Bronfman’s co-defendants: Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman, Nancy Salzman, and Kathy Russell.

The purpose of the hearings is to ensure that each of Bronfman’s co-defendants is aware of all the potential conflicts-of-interest concerning the attorneys that are currently representing them.

Those potential conflicts include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
– All those attorneys are being paid for out of a Defense Trust Fund that Bronfman established shortly before she was indicted in July 2018;

– More than 75% of the Trust has already been depleted – and that was before Allison Mack added two new attorneys to her defense team;-

– Only one of the attorneys, Marc Agnifilo, was paid an upfront retainer fee (All of the other attorneys have been billing by the hour);

– All of the other attorneys may be subservient to Agnifilo (He is usually the only one who speaks during case-related hearings – and he’s been known to speak on behalf of all the attorneys involved in the case);

– With the exception of Raniere, none of the other defendants may have had any say in selecting the attorneys who are currently representing them (It is quite possible that Agnifilo was the one who selected all the other attorneys – which would explain why they are so deferential to him).

To ensure that Raniere, Mack, the Salzmans and Russell receive sound, objective legal advice – which may be the first time that’s happened in this case – Judge Garaufis has appointed a separate attorney to represent each of them at the Curcio hearings.

Those appointed attorneys – and the dates and times for each of the hearings – are as follows (All of the hearings will be held in Courtroom 4D-South):
– RE: Keith Raniere: Avraham C. Moskowitz – February 19, 2019, at 2:30 PM;

– RE: Allison Mack: Susan G. Kellman – February 20, 2019, at 2:30 PM;

– RE: Kathy Russell: Margaret M. Shalley – February 21, 2019, at 2:30 PM;

– RE: Nancy Salzman: Deborah A. Colson – February 22, 2019, at 3:00 PM; and

– RE: Lauren Salzman: Lisa Scolari – February 22, 2019, at 4:00 PM.

Each of the appointed attorneys will receive a copy of the letter that their client’s current attorneys submitted to Judge Garaufis in response to his question as to what they would do when the Trust ran out of money. In addition, they will also receive an unredacted copy of the Trust’s indenture and the January 14, 2019 declaration by the attorney for the Trust’s trustee concerning how the Trust is being administered.

It is expected that at the conclusion of their Curcio hearing, each of Bronfman’s co-defendants will opt to retain their current attorneys rather than have Judge Garaufis appoint – and pay for – independent attorneys to represent them going forward.

In the case of Mack, the Salzmans and Russell, that decision may be based on (a) their loyalty to Raniere and Bronfman; (b) their inability to disobey Raniere’s commands; or (c) their sheer stupidity.

But all that Judge Garaufis cares about is that Bronfman’s co-defendants, after having been fully informed about all the potential conflicts-of-interest, will have decided on their own to stay with their current attorneys.

With that box having been checked off, one more possible basis for an appeal will have been removed from the table.

Viva Executive Success!

About the author


News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.


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