After Bronfman’s secrecy about her attorneys angered the judge, the NXIVM patroness had a fainting spell when questioned directly about Michael Avenatti
For the past two days, Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman has been at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn—the same one where El Chapo went to trial—for emergency hearings in the NXIVM “sex cult” case. Judge Nicholas Garaufis had called her in to grill her about who exactly her counsel was, and why Mark Geragos and Michael Avenatti met with the government last week.
Bronfman has been madly adding attorneys to her defense. The judge reamed her out for telling him that she’d hired Geragos after Googling him, which, on further probing, he thought was untrue, and for playing footsie with Avenatti, now under indictment for extorting Nike, without telling him first. “I control and run this case,” Garaufis said. “You’re going to tell me who the lawyers are.”
This is the latest strange twist in the NXIVM case, which has been ramping up for a trial scheduled to begin April 29. NXIVM leader Keith Raniere and five of his female disciples have essentially been accused of conspiring to run a self-help group that doubled as a sex-trafficking ring—though not all the defendants may have been aware of the extent of the sex.
When he met with NXIVM prosecutors, Avenatti claimed to have information for them, presumably as a way to secure some advantage for his then-client Clare Bronfman, though clarification on this point was not forthcoming at the hearing. Bronfman also told the court that she has stopped working with Avenatti since his indictment in the Nike case. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/03/michael-avenatti-clare-bronfman-the-sex-cult-case-offers-to-barter-with-prosecutors