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Nxivm: Judge calls emergency hearing as case thrown into chaos over Mark Geragos news

[Judge Nicholas Garaufis and Mark Geragos]

Judge Nicholas Garaufis has called for a 3 pm emergency status hearing today in the Nxivm case with just 24 hours notice, and has only called in two of the defendants: Nxivm leader Keith Raniere and Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman.

Why not the other remaining defendants, actress Allison Mack, bookkeeper Kathy Russell, and Lauren Salzman? Perhaps it’s an acknowledgment by Garaufis that the three of them are close to finalizing plea deals similar to the one that recently took Nancy Salzman out of the case.

Anyway, we presume that the sudden rush is a result of Monday’s bombshell that Bronfman’s attorney, famous defense lawyer Mark Geragos, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the arrest of attorney Michael Avenatti, who stands accused of trying to shake down the Nike corporation for about $22 million.

Although Geragos was named as Avenatti’s co-conspirator, he has not been charged. But he was dumped as a commentator by CNN and his status in the Nxivm case is certainly up in the air — with jury selection slated to begin in just 12 days.

Further complicating matters is that Teny Geragos, the daughter of Mark Geragos, is an attorney who represents Raniere, and Teny’s firm, Branfman & Associates, is reportedly representing her father in the Avenatti matter.

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As Judge Garaufis tries to untie this knot, it seems there’s a very good chance that the trial will be delayed, and in a recent filing Raniere’s attorneys said that if the trial is delayed they won’t be available again until March 2020.

Meanwhile, Garaufis made another quick decision, delaying an evidentiary hearing which was supposed to take place today over some documents that Clare Bronfman argues were improperly obtained by the government and should not be used against her in the trial. It’s a complex story about a storage unit that Bronfman used to archive some business documents and personal records. The wrinkle is that an employee of hers, Adrienne Stiles, obtained the storage unit in her own name, which was required by the storage unit company. Prosecutors eventually ended up with the documents, and argued that when Stiles rented the storage unit in her name, Bronfman gave up rights to them. But Judge Garaufis decided that wasn’t true regarding Clare’s personal records, but he’s not sure if that’s the case with the business documents and wanted the two sides to present evidence so he could make up his mind. Now, with the Geragos matter, he’s put that off. (But we have his memo for you below, giving background on the storage unit spat.)

Will Mark Geragos show up today at the status hearing to learn his fate in the Nxivm case? We expect a media circus at the Brooklyn courtroom.

 
Here’s the judge’s order regarding the storage unit…

 

Nxivm Document 464: Order R… by on Scribd

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 27, 2019 at 12:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

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 gmail.com (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)

 

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