Guest View: Lauren Salzman & the Long Process of Paying for Her Mistakes

By Shivani

I don’t “judge” the actions of Judge Garaufis in ending Marc Agnifilo’s barrage of questions directed at Lauren Salzman. This had not been Salzman’s first and only moment of breakdown during Agnifilo’s cross-examination. She had been raw and vulnerable while testifying, had cried a lot and had been barely able to maintain any composure earlier in the day, too.

It is counter-productive for Judge Garaufis to allow any witness to be badgered into a state which endangers that testifier’s mental or emotional stability. The judge is obliged to maintain the atmosphere of the courtroom for its purpose. It would benefit no one for Salzman to lose balance to the point where it could require medical assistance or hospitalization. (It might pleasure Raniere, though.)

This can be seen as cumulative. After days of testimony with admissions of guilt on Salzman’s part, her breaking down could very well mean that she has started to be able to separate herself from Raniere’s domination. She could be reliving her 20 years of experience with Raniere from a perspective which is new to her, as maybe, (just maybe) she is in the process of removing her own blinders. Definitely getting free can come at great cost, with many, many breakdowns as one peels away the layers of conditioning, deception and its resultant hideous consequences.

After 20 years involvement, Salzman has had nothing else but this all-encompassing environment, which included her own mother and sister. So, if she is in the process of ending her dependency, of course it will be devastating, shattering. She has prison to anticipate. Her entire life must be questionable to her now.

She is already in the process of payinaW

ng for her mistakes by holding herself accountable for them, by facing herself. She could be not even halfway free of her destructive decisions, even as she is forced to testify as part of her plea agreement. She is publicly revealing that her allegiance to Raniere has been a long and terrible error. And yes, none but she can know how truthful she is being. This too is what Judge Garaufis has stated, that whether Salzman is truthful or not, he will not allow the courtroom to become a boxing arena – or anyone’s format for chaos.

Judge Garaufis ended Salzman’s moment on the stand firmly. But after the jury was sent out of the courtroom was when Garuafis expounded about it, not in the presence of the jury. It was only then that the judge told Agnifilo, “I thought it was extremely excruciating. I tried to cut off the line of questioning. You went right back. You were way over the line.”

Judge Garaufis also saw Raniere enthusiastically sending notes to Agnifilo on the spot, while Salzman’s testimony was being elicited by Agnifilo. Raniere was enjoying and encouraging and directing the line of Agnifilo’s questioning, and Raniere was quite animated about contributing to Salzman’s meltdown.

Agnifilo, looking like Raniere’s puppet, makes it difficult to respect Agnifilo’s conduct as a lawyer. He appears to be manipulated by his client.

As someone who was present in court said, Raniere left the courtroom smiling and even waving to people after Salzman was badgered enough to lose her self-control. This is Raniere’s second attempt at a mistrial. He still does not get it. He is not running this experience, not for himself or by manipulating anyone else. Fuck his executive success.

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