Franco trial scheduled for February 6th

It started almost 15 years ago as a lawsuit against Rick Ross, Morris Sutton and his wife, and their daughter, Stephanie Franco. Over the years, it added several other defendants.

But now, after almost 15 years of motion filing, lawyer changing, venue moving, and other delaying tactics, everything has bee dismissed or resolved except for NXIVM’s complaint against Franco for breach of contract and Franco’s cross-claim against NXIVM and Nancy Salzman for violations of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and New York’s General Business Laws.

That trial is now scheduled to start on Tuesday, February 6th.

Recent developments

On December 19, 2017, NXIVM lawyers asked the Court for an adjournment of the trial that was then scheduled to start on January 17, 2018, because NXIVM attorney Robert Crockett had emergency eye surgery. They asked that the trial be adjourned until early February.

The Court denied the request.

On January 10, 2018, the Judge indicated the parties should be prepared for trial unless one of two things happened:

(1) NXIVM entered a voluntary dismissal of their complaint against Franco; or

(2) NXIVM filed a sworn statement on behalf of Nancy Salzman, where Salzman swore that neither she nor anyone from NXIVM would appear at trial.

The judge indicated that NXIVM would be hard pressed to go to trial without witnesses.

Franco said that if NXIVM agreed to dismiss the case against her, she would drop her cross-claim against NXIVM and Salzman.

The following day,  Salzman signed an affidavit saying she would not testify at trial on January 17th and that no other NXIVM representative would testify either.

Salzman acknowledged she understood that, by submitting her affidavit, NXIVM’s claims against Franco would be dismissed.

NXIVM advised the Court that it would not proceed with trial because Crockett could not appear.

On January 17th,  the Court decided to give Crockett time to recover from eye surgery and set the trial date for February 6th.

In setting the trial date for February 6th, thereby allowing Crockett to appear, Judge Katharine S. Hayden might be making the case appeal-proof.

Franco’s lawyers argued the case should be dismissed and that Crockett’s eye injury was a subterfuge because no one from NXIVM could appear at trial since the company and its chief officials are under federal criminal investigation.

Franco’s lawyers have made a pending motion to dismiss.

It remains to be seen if Salzman or any NXIVM official will testify at trial. If they do not, the case likely cannot proceed and will probably be dismissed. But the court could also grant Stephanie Franco’s cross-claim – and even require NXIVM to pay for all her legal fees and expenses.

So, after 15 years of “getting ready to fight”, will NXIVM show up for the battle – or just slink away like the legal bullies that they are?  Given that any of NXIVM’s witnesses could be asked all sorts of questions about the organization’s alleged illegal activities, I think we all know what’s going to happen next week…NOTHING!


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Frank Parlato

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Will he or won't he
Will he or won't he
5 years ago

No the question is, will crock of shot come up with another “reasonable reason” to back out of this trial? Can his law firm handle one more loss in court? Crockett is looking more like a $150.00 an hour ambulance chaser than the big time LA lawyer of his youth.
He loss the Ross case, the Real Estate deal on appeal, the Microsoft case and every appeal so far afterwards, the Dones case when she was a pro se defendant… does the list go on?
What has he won? Jack Shit? The first round of the California Real estate law suit cost $2-million more than the judgment. And the case was reversed on appeal.
Piss poor lawyer but he takes the devil’s money

5 years ago

I thought the judge told Crockett that she would not delay the trial!

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.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

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 premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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