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[Clare Bronfman leaves the courthouse with Mark Geragos. Photo by VillageDianne]

Wild times in the Nxivm case today as Clare Bronfman collapsed and paramedics were called. According to our court observer and others who were present, the Seagram heiress fainted after Judge Nicholas Garaufis asked whether disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti had secretly been negotiating a plea deal for her with the US Attorney.

We expected there to be fireworks today after Bronfman’s lead attorney, famous defense lawyer Mark Geragos, on Monday was named a co-conspirator with Avenatti in a scheme to extort the Nike corporation of some $22 million.

But it was Avenatti’s name that came up, observers say, as an angry Judge Garaufis demanded to know if Avenatti, who is not admitted to the case, had secretly been working on a deal behind the scenes.

At that point, Bronfman went rigid and collapsed into her chair, our court observer says.

“Her attorneys gathered around her. Paramedics came in about a half hour and put her on a stretcher. They took her into a room with windows papered over. Later we were told that it had been recommended that she go to the hospital, but she didn’t want to. She wanted to go home. She was arm in arm with Mark Geragos when they left the court.”


Our observer said there wasn’t a lot of media outside the building before the hearing, but there were many spectators in the courtroom. “Geragos seemed jovial. Not as much as last time, but he didn’t look worried.”

The judge first handled a request from Bronfman’s legal team to close the courtroom to the public and press. But Judge Garaufis asked reporters who were present if they objected, and they did. Reporters from Newsday, the NY Post, Bloomberg, and New York magazine all spoke.

“The judge decided not to close the hearing.”

Our observer says the judge seemed angry at Clare Bronfman, accusing her of being untruthful in a previous Curcio hearing regarding how she had found Mark Geragos. The judge said he had learned that Geragos had a preexisting relationship with the Bronfman family.

“Then there was this issue of another attorney secretly being involved.”

“I want the truth,” Judge Garaufis said angrily.

And apparently it was all too much for Clare, who collapsed.

Judge Garaufis postponed hearings on the matter until tomorrow and Friday, our observer said.

Wild times indeed, with jury selection coming in only 12 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 27, 2019 at 15:30

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Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He’s written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper titled ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ and more recently a compilation of his stories, ‘Battlefield Scientology.’ He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world, as well as other subjects at The Underground Bunker. You can reach him by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)


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