NXIVM’S Legal Defense Team Loses A Member – The First Of Many Or Just An Anomaly?

James Burke, one of three Arizona lawyers representing Lauren Salzman - has just dropped out.

Buried in this week’s legal filings was a mysterious “Motion For Leave To Withdraw James L. Burke As Counsel Of Record” – which, once it’s granted, will reduce the horde of attorneys representing the NXIVM Six by one. As detailed in the motion that was filed earlier this week on behalf of Lauren Salzman, “Mr. Burke is no longer employed at the Arizona law firm of Quarles & Brady, LLP”.

Lauren will continue to be represented by two other members of the Quarles & Brady firm: Hector J. Diaz and Andrea S. Tazioli. And, as noted in the filing, “Mr. Burke is not asserting a retaining or charging lien” – which apparently means that he’s been paid-in-full for whatever legal services he rendered on behalf of Lauren.

No explanation was given concerning Mr. Burke’s departure from the Quarles & Brady law firm – but the firm’s website has been scrubbed clean of any mention of his name or reference to his work there.

While the departure of Mr. Burke will likely not have any impact on the overall case, it does raise some interesting questions. Such as:

– Is he related to Dennis K. Burke, the former U.S. Attorney for Arizona who was drummed out of his high-ranking government position in 2011 because of his involvement with the “Fast and Furious” gun-running program?

– Did James L. Burke leave the Quarles & Brady firm voluntarily – or was he forced out by the firm’s new Managing Partner Leonardo Loo, who took over in that position late last month (I guess Loo’s appointment and Burke’s departure could be a coincidence – but the timing is odd to say the very least)?

– Does Lauren’s newfound disregard for her former lover, master, and would-be baby daddy, Keith (I’m The Vanguard) Raniere, have something to do with James L. Burke’s departure (Lauren has almost thrown out her back as she’s contorted not to make eye contact with Raniere at the last two Status Conferences)?

– Is Clare Bronfman starting to trim back on the number of attorneys she’s willing to pay to represent her co-defendants plus all the other members of the cult who could be indicted in the near future?

Of course, anytime you think about how many attorneys are being employed in this case, you immediately start wondering why there are so many of them. And you also start wondering why only a few of them are filing all the motions – and raising issues on behalf of their clients?

To date, the prosecution has not raised any questions about the origins of the Trust Fund that is apparently being used to pay all the attorneys who are representing Raniere, Bronfman, Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman, Nancy Salzman, and Kathy Russell. Nor has it raised any questions about the propriety of that same Trust Fund being used to pay for other defense-related costs like private investigators and expert witnesses.

It is not known whether some or all of the NXIVM Six have entered into a Joint Defense Agreement. Such an agreement would, among other things, allow the attorneys who are representing the current defendants to share information and strategies without putting at risk any attorney/client privilege between them and their respective clients.

But even if there is such an agreement in place, one would have to assume that it doesn’t include the one defendant – Nancy Salzman – who has been described as “ready to take a plea deal” – and flip on the other defendants. And based on the body language of some of the defendants at this week’s Status Conference, it appears increasingly likely that there may be more than one such defendant getting ready to turn their back on Raniere.

He who has the most joy wins – but he who has the most co-defendants taking plea deals definitely loses.

Here is the list of attorneys at present:

Keith Alan Raniere AKA Vanguard
1. Marc Agnifilo – Brafman & Associates, P.C.
2. Paul DerOhannesian II – DerOhannesian & DerOhannesian
3. Danielle R. Smith – DerOhannesian & DerOhannesian
4. Jacob Kaplan – Brafman & Associates, P.C.
5. Teny R. Geragos – Brafman & Associates, P.C.
6. Brian Poe – Fort Worth, TX

Allison Mack
7. Steven Kobre Kobre & Kim LLC
8. William F. McGovern Kobre & Kim LLC
9. Sean S. Buckley – Kobre & Kim LLC

Clare Bronfman 
10. Dennis Burke –Ballard Spahr
11. John Sandweg

12. Susan R. Necheles – Hafetz & Necheles LLP
13. Kathleen E. Cassidy – Hafetz & Necheles LLP
14. Gedalia Stern – Hafetz & Necheles LLP
15. William Savino Wood Oviatt Gilman

16. Alexandra A.E. Shapiro

17 Fabien Manohar Thayamballi

Nancy Salzman AKA Prefect
18. Michael J. Sullivan – Ashcroft Group
19. David Stern Franklin Rothman, Schneider, Soloway and Stern
20. Robert Soloway p Franklin Rothman, Schneider, Soloway and Stern

Lauren Salzman
21. Hector J. Diaz – Quarles & Brady, LLP
22. Andrea S. Tazioli  Quarles & Brady

Kathy Russell
23. Justine Harris
24. Amanda Ravich


Bonus lawyers: 

Dr. Brandon Porter and Dr. Danielle Roberts
25. Michael S. Kelton – Abrams Fensterman

Nicki Clyne
26. Edward Sapone – Sapone & Petrillo


In addition, a source tells me that a number of witnesses and potential defendants already have lawyers courtesy of Clare Bronfman. . Frank Report hopes to identify these shortly.


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K.R. Claviger


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  • The Scottsdale Independent story cited above notes that new Quarles & Brady managing partner Leonardo Loo “currently serves on the Board of Directors for Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., where he is the immediate past chairman. Mr. Loo also currently serves as general counsel for … the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce …”

    And here’s an interesting case from the Quarles & Brady website:

    Quarles & Brady took on a matter for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which involved the forced abduction of a child who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico, beyond the apparent reach of her father and lawful custodian. We put together a multifaceted argument for the return of the child and worked with members of the U.S. Senate, the Mexican Consulate, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Child Protective Services, and a variety of other key stakeholders to safely reunite the young girl with her aggrieved father. Even after successfully winning the case, it was still necessary to work through the details of legally transporting the child back to Mexico. The case was fraught with obstacles and setbacks, but we were tenacious and determined to see the child safely sent home rather than our simply scoring the court victory and leaving the ultimate goal to others. As one might imagine, the final reunion was a powerful experience to witness.


  • I was hoping he was off the team because they don’t need a big team since she is cutting a deal, but a new managing partner makes it sound more like an old grudge being settled.

    I guess Nancy and Lauren might as well wait to cut their deals until the next round of superseding indictments. Maybe everybody will have something extra special to be thankful for by the time American Thanksgiving rolls around.

    • Just saying
      You seem to know a lot about Canada, and you even use Canadian spellings, such as BEHAVIOUR , but you claim to be American.
      Most Americans have no idea that Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October.

    • Scott is it absolutely necessary to dog Shadow State on each comment? There are those who think his comments are important and interesting and not too obvious.

  • Dennis Burke is probably being kept under wraps because Ballard Sphar specializes in anti money laundering, even assisting with the international laws both assisting with the creation of and making sure the information gets out there. This is one attorney Clare Wil, hold on to

    • Clare doesn’t have the sophistication or education to begin to understand AML, international laws or compliance. The real question is, who is advising Clare?

  • If the money is coming from Clare and Sara’s inheritance, it’s none of the government’s business regarding the source. If the money is coming from criminal activities, such as RICO fraud and international trafficking, it will probably be frozen. But it will probably take a long time to sort that out. In the meantime, bootlegger granddaddy’s wealth is going to lawyers. How fitting, from one scumbag “profession” to another.

  • “To date, the prosecution has not raised any questions about the origins of the Trust Fund that is apparently being used to pay all the attorneys who are representing Raniere, Bronfman, Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman, Nancy Salzman, and Kathy Russell. Nor has it raised any questions about the propriety of that same Trust Fund being used to pay for other defense-related costs like private investigators and expert witnesses.”

    If the government started investigating the source of the trust fund used to pay the lawyers, they might find not only Bronfman money but also Salinas money.
    Especially all of the Arizona lawyers.

    • Relax shadowperv, all your concerns are being investigated. This is international investigation and much more complex.because of that. The Feds primary concern is money laundering, tax evasion,,,all things financial. Also the human trafficking element and any federal, state politicians and law enforcement involved Not so much worried about your precious Allie Wack branding.That will be brought into it but that is not a major Federal concern. RICO is in play. Also if you are planning any trips out to Southern California to stalk Mack, be wary. The Feds are keeping a close eye on her and her family as they are in danger of paid Mexican gang banger violence. You might want to steer clear there little fella.

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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