Clare Bronfman certainly doesn’t have much luck when it comes to men…
First, she got herself deeply involved in Keith Raniere’s NXIVM/ESP cult – and committed all sorts of crimes to help further the cult’s objectives.
Then, just two months before her trial was to begin on various NXIVM/ESP-related charges, she decided to hire Mark Geragos as her lead attorney.
Earlier today, Geragos was identified by several news outlets as “CC-1”[Co-conspirator #1], the other attorney who, along with Michael Avenatti, allegedly tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike, Inc.
Although Geragos has not yet been indicted, that is certainly a possibility – and per one legal source, “almost inevitable”.
According to the complaint filed against Avenatti, he and CC-1 [Geragos] met with attorneys representing Nike on March 19th – and threatened to disclose damaging information about the company’s involvement with “a major high school/college basketball scandal” unless it agreed to pay the attorneys between $15 million and $25 million to conduct an “internal investigation” into the company.
Alternatively, Avenatti and Geragos supposedly agreed to accept a one-time payment of $22.5 million from Nike to keep them from going public with their charges.
Either way, $1.5 million of the Nike payments to Avenatti and Geragos was slated to go to an unnamed client who had allegedly been harmed by the company.
Assuming that Avenatti and Geragos were going to retain 30% of the amount collected by the client – an amount that may be least 10% too low – this means that the two attorneys would have collected at least $15.5 -$25.5 million while their client netted about $1 million.
That sounds pretty fair… at least when you’re dealing with really, really sleazy attorneys.
Seriously, did both of these clowns skip the mandatory classes on “Legal Ethics” when they were in law school?
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, stated that the scheme involving Avenatti and Geragos “…was an old-fashioned shake-down”.
That sounds about right…
Aside from what’s going to happen to Avenatti and Geragos themselves, the question arises as to what’s going to happen to their other clients who are currently depending upon them for legal representation.
People like Clare Bronfman…
Will Clare seek to postpone her trial – which is currently scheduled to start on April 8th with the selection of the jury that will determine whether she goes free or spends a significant amount of time in federal prison?
Or will she use Geragos’ legal problems as an additional argument for severing her trial from that of Keith Raniere, Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman?
Or will she crawl back to her former lead attorney, Susan Necheles, and beg her to take back over the case that she was removed from on March 1st?
Or will she accept a plea deal that will likely see her spending 6-10 years in federal prison?
It seems unlikely that Nicholas G. Garaufis, the presiding judge in the case of the U.S. v. Raniere Et Al, will allow Geragos to remain as Bronfman’s lead attorney in the case because doing so would set up an almost perfect appeal issue should Bronfman be convicted.
At a minimum, Judge Garaufis will have to conduct another Curcio hearing to force Clare to state, under oath, that she still wants to be represented by the ethically-challenged and obviously-distracted Geragos.
Other legal issues now abound in this case – which could easily find its way into future textbooks concerning several law school subjects.
• Will some/all of Clare’s co-defendants claim that the presence of Geragos on the defense team unfairly biases the jury against them?
• Will Geragos’ own legal problems give Clare a slam-dunk claim of “ineffective counsel” if/when she gets convicted?
• Will some/all of Clare’s co-defendants – including Raniere – now seek to have separate trials from Clare?
Another complicating factor concerns the question of who is going to represent Mark Geragos with respect to his current legal problems. This far, he is being represented by Benjamin Brafman.
That would be the same Benjamin Brafman who is the founder of Brafman & Associates PC.
And that would be the same Brafman & Associates PC that is the law firm where Marc Agnifilo and Teny Geragos, two of Keith Raniere’s attorneys, happen to work.
And that would be the same Teny Geragos who is Mark Geragos’ daughter.
What a clusterfuck!