Kathy Russell gets new attorney – who is paying?

Justine Harris represented Kathy Russell - the bookkeeper for NXIVM.

NXIVM fall gal, Kathy Russell has a new attorney. Her old one, William Fanciullo, of Albany, dropped out for reasons that are unclear. Her new attorney is Justine Harris with offices in New York City.

Kathy Russell, who long ago was designated by Vanguard to take the fall in case the government ever came calling, is, according to sources, completely convinced that if she stands by her Vanguard, she will be acquitted – as will her master.

According to one source, she considers the charges almost a joke – but she is proud also to endure pain for her wondrous teacher, Vanguard, known also in court documents as Keith Alan Raniere, 57.

Kathy is presently free on bail and forbidden to work for NXIVM as its double-sets-of-books bookkeeper.

Her new attorney, Justine Harris – according to her website is  a partner in the law firm of Sher Tremonte with 20 years experience.

“Ms. Harris represents individuals and companies in a wide variety of criminal and white-collar matters, as well as complex civil and regulatory proceedings. … Ms. Harris has obtained numerous jury acquittals, won pretrial motions to dismiss, and consistently achieved favorable sentencing outcomes for her clients. Many of Ms. Harris’s clients have had their charges reduced, or have avoided criminal or civil liability altogether. Super Lawyers has recognized Ms. Harris as one of Manhattan’s top white collar criminal defense attorneys and listed her among the Top 50 Women in 2017.

“Ms. Harris has expertise on a variety of complex financial and legal issues. She routinely defends individuals charged with insider trading, securities fraud, bank fraud, RICO, mortgage fraud, terrorism, obstruction of justice, bribery and tax fraud. Ms. Harris also represents individuals in sensitive federal and state grand jury proceedings, internal investigations, and investigations conducted by government agencies… ”


What this means is that Ms. Harris likely ‘don’t come cheap.’  But who is paying for it?

Kathy – despite 20 years with Executive Success Programs – is broke [of course]- as former attorney Fanciullo revealed when he successfully sought a reduced bail bond from $50,000 to $25,000.

That bail bond was paid in cash by fellow NXIVM bookkeeper Karen Abney, who likely was not using her own money.

As for paying the new attorney’s fees, sources tell me that Sara Bronfman-Igtet and Clare Bronfman set up a substantial fund to defend Kathy Russell and others. It is not known if Kathy’s defense and its financing are contingent on doing what is best for other co-defendants such as Keith Alan Raniere or Clare Bronfman – first and foremost.

Of course, if one were to ask Justine Harris – I suspect that she would say she represents Kathy first and only — and I would suspect she would be telling the truth.

But there are ways to get around ethics – and the Bronfmans – as followers of that foremost of ethicists – are not strangers to such surreptitious devices.

What we don’t know is whether, prior to her retainer/engagement, Ms. Harris was informed that her future client, Kathy Russell, would not be interested in taking any plea deal that requires her to testify against her co-defendants.  This might appear as Kathy’s instructions.

What she would likely be told by Kathy or one of Clare Bronfman’s representatives [for the trust that pays the lawyers] is that Kathy is a highly principled, ethical person who believes in her innocence and only wants a lawyer who will not push to seek a plea deal in exchange for providing testimony adverse to Bronfman-Raniere.

In this scenario, Kathy could be set up to take a fall, while her attorney thinks she has a principled client – that she can bill right through trial – who has a trust with the ability to pay – without the conflict becoming evident.

Since Kathy, like all NXIVM members, will likely lie about evidence to her attorney, Harris might even think Kathy is innocent of the charges and she can prevail at trial.

The weakness in this alleged Bronfman-Raniere scheme is that, should Kathy wake up one day and decide to save herself – there is nothing the trust that pays her legal fees can do to compel an honest attorney not to follow Kathy’s instructions. If Kathy wants to flip and get a plea deal – Harris has to work for that – despite what the people who paid for her services want as an outcome.

According to her website, “from 2001 to 2010, Ms. Harris was an assistant federal defender at the Federal Defenders’ office for the Eastern District of New York, where she was lead counsel on hundreds of criminal cases in federal court.”

This means she is intimately familiar with the federal system in NYC/Brooklyn and knows the local rules and all the players. She probably has personally arranged for hundreds of plea deals, arranged for some dismissals, took some to trial, won some, lost some and maybe she will be able to help Kathy get out of the entanglement of NXIVM and avoid jail.

But first, Kathy will have to want to help herself.  At of right now, this does not seem to be the case. According to sources, Kathy plans to stand with her Vanguard and go to trial alongside him.


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Frank Parlato

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Harry Pothead
Harry Pothead
5 years ago

Kathy believes that at her age she actually has a chance to become a world famous ballet dancer. That says all we need to understand about her mindset.

Jorge Serrano
Jorge Serrano
5 years ago

It’s hard to believe that Kathy Russell’s NXIUM-appointed attorney could allow her to turn state’s evidence. Attorneys’ ethics aside (as they usually are), he who pays the lawyer calls the tune. Is there any way for her to receive independent counsel before it’s too late?

Scott Johnson (@ScottTexJohnson)
Reply to  Jorge Serrano

It would have to be a court appointed lawyer. She’s broke.

Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'
5 years ago

Mark Agniflio should borrow that line… “favourable sentencing outcomes”… Since what that means is you lost a case, and maybe kinda, sorta salvaged what you could. “Oh, but I got them a year off the maximum. Sounds favourable to me.”

Can’t think of anything whatsoever that he’s won lately that’s gone to trial.

He can only win when it involves the NYDA’s office (where his wife works) when they can stop it from going to trial. Fascinating how that magically happens when they are on opposite sides of a case.

5 years ago

seriously? nobody cares that these so-called “women” are actually MEN? not relevant? no one? anyone?? *crickets*
this THING is a MAN! stop saying WOMAN!


5 years ago

Kathy R is a MAN in a DRESS.
ALL NX folks are TRANZ.
wake up people
tell em, frank….

5 years ago

Kathy, don’t FALL…JUMP to safety! Cut a deal and if your attorney does not advise you to do so, she’s already guilty of malpractice. YOU HAVE BEEN SET UP — GET FREE!

5 years ago

I sure don’t have a trust fund to bail me out if I fuck up. Trust fund for attorney fees shows guilt. Maybe I will set up a fund tomorrow, just in case the Feds knock on my door and indict me. Yeah that’s not my thought if if I were innocent. NOT!

5 years ago

Kathy Russell gets new attorney – who is paying?

Who is paying?
Clare Bronfman and all of Clare’s attorneys are cooperating in a common front.

All of the NXIVM defendants will sing from the same hymn book.
“We are all consenting adults just out for some fun and games.”

The Fix is in.

Scott Johnson (@ScottTexJohnson)

The fix is broke. Prosecuting witnesses will destroy their common, “fun,” front.

5 years ago

hey shadow – how about commenting on the fact that all nx folks are trannies? MTF anf FTM
not relevant?
horseshit its not!!!!!

5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I have noted in the past that Clare Bronfman is rather “handsome” for a woman.

And I will also note that Clare’s gift of a BMW to Allison was really a payment for pimping services Allison rendered to Clare.

Allison Mack is a full service pimp who provides women to both male heterosexuals and female homosexuals.

Moreover Mack’s wife Nicki Clyne is strangely androgynous.
Both Mack and Clyne look and dress alike.

Most women try to dress differently from other women.
It’s a big deal if two women attend a party wearing the same dress.

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankreport76@gmail.com


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