NXIVM counsel Crockett files “Notice of Unreadiness of counsel for Trial” for Franco trial set for January 16th

NXIVM attorney Robert Crockett

Yesterday [Jan 5, 2018}, NXIVM lawyer Robert Crockett wrote to inform United States District Judge Katharine S. Hayden that, in the case of NXIVM V. Franco, his clients cannot go forward with the trial because he cannot try the case in person.

Earlier this week, Frank Report revealed that Crockett requested an adjournment of the January 16, 2018 trial date because of the fact that due to recent eye surgery to re-attach the retina to his right eye, he risked blindness by traveling from California to the Newark, New Jersey courthouse where the trial will be held. Crockett has represented NXIVM for nine years.

The judge refused to adjourn the case which is now in its 15th year of pre-trial.

In his “Declaration and Notice of Unreadiness of Counsel for Trial” Crockett wrote, “It is with great regret that I must inform the Court that NXIVM will not be ready for trial on the scheduled date….  I asked if [I] could at least cross the Continental Divide at 4000 feet. My doctors have advised that my recovery from said surgery precludes me from exceeding 2000 feet without risking blindness until a gas organic ball in my eye is fully absorbed. That date is approximately six weeks from December 16, 2017….

“I have fully advised my client that the likely outcomes [of not proceeding with the trial] are (a) the Complaint will be stricken, (b) a default granted on the Cross-complaint, (c) proveup on the Cross-complaint, and (d) costs and damages awarded….

“… recently deceased [NXIVM attorney] Bill McGuire and I worked together for many years developing the case, understanding the facts and preparing for trial….   I made no effort to bring any other lawyer up to speed to handle the case because I was in perfect health, run 100-mile races and marathons, have an active practice, manage a law practice of several lawyers in California, have plenty of experience in jury trials and federal cases, and there appeared to be no prospect of an inability to get in a plane or train or car to come to New Jersey….  the NXIVM Parties are not prepared to proceed to trial in my absence as primary counsel.

Corckett indicated he needed a minimum three week adjournment.

The full name of the case is Nxivm Corp. (formerly known as Executive Success Programs Inc.) and First Principles, Inc.  Plaintiffs, v. Morris Sutton, Rochelle Sutton, The Ross Institute, Rick Ross (a/k/a “Ricky” Ross), Stephanie Franco, Paul Martin, Ph.D., and Wellspring Retreat, Inc. Defendants. AND Rick Ross, Counterclaim-Plaintiff, – against Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman, Kristin Keeffe, Interfor, Inc., Juval Aviv, Jane Doe,  and John Does 1-10.

Court Documents:

790-2 – 12.28.17_Decl of R. Crockett_Plfs Motion for Reconsideration

793 – 1.5.18_Ltr from G. McGuire to Judge Hayden 2

793-1 – 1.5.18_Declaration of R. Crockett 2

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Frank Parlato


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  • Crockett admits that NXIVM not showing up for the trial will result in loss of the original suit, and also loss of the countersuits, which will cost NXIVM et al. lots of damages.

    It’s not remotely plausible that Crockett could not brief another lawyer to at least start the trial. And the trial could be stretched out enough that Crockett could finish it.

    I think this is a face-saving way of dropping the suit, blaming Crockett’s medical condition.

    I think Raniere is too scared of being treated the way he was in the ATT/Microsoft patent case: being called out as a serial liar amd being forced to pay his opponent’s legal fees (although that may at this point be inevitable).

  • What I find amazing is
    1. Crockett shows no proof from his doctor regarding his medical condition. It’s understandable that he couldn’t during his first request due to the holiday, but in this day of FAX, email etc, it’s hard to believe he can’t prove he even has a medical situation by now.
    2. Why would you leave any attorney out of preparation for a trail? Things happen and this was just stupid on your part.
    3. Crockett was Kristen Keffee’s attorney in this case not NXIVM’s.
    4. Can he not drive the very Southern route of the U.S. and stay at a low elevation?
    5. The question is, who from NXIVM is going to testify? They are scattered like rats on a sinking ship. So is this really just a stalling game Crockett is playing to buy time until the heat is off?

    What has happened to a right to a speedy trail? This thing has been drugged out for 15 years now. I can see why the Judge put her foot down.

    It wouldn’t be the first time Crockett lies to the court and now he’s going to blame what was most likely going to be a loss anyway on him not getting his way with the Judge.

    Should of done better in your prep Bobby, never know when working for the evil ones will catch up with you.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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