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Rainiere’s Curcio hearing – Judge gives him plenty of warnings; tells lawyers they will need more than 500 potential jurors to find unbiased jury

By Village Diane 

Today was Keith Raniere’s Curcio hearing. It began at 3 pm.

Marc Agnifilo, Teny Geragos and Paul DerOhannesian [from Albany] were there.

Avi Moskovitz, the court appointed Curcio attorney for Raniere, was in attendance.

Keith came in a brown prison uniform. He was clean shaven and had shoulder length hair in the back and a little shorter in front.  His hair looked brown and normal. His face looked pale  – but normal for being in prison.  He was wearing a long sleeve shirt under his short sleeved prison uniform.

He approached the bench.

The judge said because of all the attention the case had received, he feels they may need more than 500 jurors to seat 12 jurors plus alternates. He was not going to exclude jurors merely because they heard of the case, but only if they were following the case closely and knew more about it than other cases.

[Editor’s Note: This will unfortunately eliminate all readers of the Frank Report. If you live in the Eastern District of NY and hope to serve on the Raniere jury, I urge you to stop reading the Frank Report at once!]

The judge explained to Raniere that the purpose of the hearing was to determine if there’s an actual or potential conflict among the attorneys.  He specifically asked if Raniere had received a certain government letter.

Keith said yes and that his lawyer summarized the letter for him.

The judge brought up the criminal extortion case against Michael Avenatti and the fact that Mark Geragos is reportedly CC #1 in that case.

Keith said, “Yes, I understand that that was what was reported.”

The judge said Geragos may be charged by SDNY.

The judge said Geragos may have criminal exposure.

Keith said he understood.

He asked Keith if he had been previously aware of the fact that Avenatti and Geragos had a meeting with the government.

Keith said no.

The judge asked if he was aware of it now.

Keith said yes, he was.

The judge asked if he was aware that Avenatti offered to provide the EDNY with information in exchange for benefits to Bronfman, including the request to sever her case from Raniere’s.

That was a bit of new information for me.

Keith said he understood.

[He now understands that Clare is likely to try to sell her Vanguard down the river.]

The judge asked a question regarding Ben Brafman, [senior partner in the law firm that represents Raniere – i.e. Agnifilo and Teny Geragos].

Brafman was representing Geragos and Keith said he understood that Brafman was representing him but not presently.

The judge said Keith should be aware that his lawyer Teny Geragos is the daughter of Clare Bronfman’s lead attorney, Mark Geragos, who might be in criminal jeopardy.  Because she’s the daughter of Mark Geragos, she “might want to curry favor with the government to assist her father.”

Keith said “I understand.

“Teny Geragos might put her father’s interest ahead of yours,” the judge said.

Keith said he understood.

“Teny Geragos may be reluctant to take positions the court disapproves of.”

Keith understood.

“Mr. Geragos treatment by the government might cause Teny Geragos to become hostile to the government.”

Keith understood.

“Mr. Geragos may retain Ben Brafman who is was associated with the law firm that represents you.”.

He informed Keith that Ben Brafman had been in court yesterday and said he was not representing Gerahgos.

The judge said that Ben Brafman representing Geragos could create a conflict of interest
and that Brafman’s firm might put the interests of Clare Bronfman ahead of Keith’s interest.

He asked if Keith was dissatisfied with Teny Geragos in any way.

Keith said no.

The judge said that the greatest danger is the inability to see conflicts of interest that may arise.  Then he asked Keith to summarize his understanding of the situation in his own words.

Keith spoke articulately and with a voice loud enough to be easily heard in the courtroom – certainly much louder than Clare’s yesterday and the day before.

Keith appeared confident or at least unafraid as he spoke.

Seemingly trying to appear smart, he said he understood it was “a two part conflict. The conflict with Teny Geragos and her father. And then in the second part, there was Ben Brafman’s possible representation of Geragos while at the same time he was being represented by Brafmam’s firm.

The judge asked if he was satisfied with Mr. Moskowitz [his Curcio lawyer].

Keith said very much so.

Then asked and answered – Keith said he was satisfied with his attorneys Mark Agnifilo and Teny Geragos and wanted them to represent him at trial.

There were few in the courtroom today and it was largely uneventful.

 

 

Marc Agnifilo [center] and Paul DerOhannesian [foreground] – Raniere’s attorneys.

 

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Frank Parlato

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