Yesterday, Eastern District of New York DOJ prosecutor Mark Lesko told Judge Garaufis that he met with Mark Geragos and Michael Avenatti concerning Clare Bronfman’s criminal case.
This revealed publicly the surprising news that Avenatti likely represents Bronfman.
The revelation, not coming first from the defense, angered the judge, who declared there is no attorney-client privilege concerning whether or not an attorney represents a defendant in a case.
The judge pressed the defense for an answer – if Avenatti – who was arrested this week on attempted extortion charges – indeed did represent Bronfman. This caused the delicate heiress to faint dead away. She recovered shortly thereafter and left the courtroom – without answering the judge’s question.
Frank Report previously reported that Lesko filed a notice of appearance in the Nxivm case. He was a prosecutor with the EDNY DOJ, from 2002- 2009, then left and turned politician. He was deputy head of the criminal division on Long Island when he left the DOJ and was elected three times as Brookhaven supervisor.
Lesko then left elected office to become executive director of Accelerate, a not-for-profit organized to develop biotech companies on Long Island. He was also vice president for economic development at Hofstra University.
We also reported that, given Lesko’s expertise in successfully prosecuting cases, his return to the DOJ and participation in the Nxivm case would be a formidable addition to the prosecution.
Now, it appears that we may have underestimated just what a force Lesko will be on the case. This week, Richard Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the EDNY [appointed by Trump], named Lesko, as chief assistant U.S. Attorney — the No. 2 person at the EDNY.
The EDNY has about 175 federal prosecutors. The district includes Nassau and Suffolk counties, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Lesko replaces Bridget Rohde, who was named Donoghue’s special counsel.