Dispute over privilege may prompt DOJ investigation into Clare Bronfman perjury on servers in computer trespassing case

Clare Bronfman unleashes her flying monkeys (Painting by MK10ART)

This could be good for justice.

The government is opposing a proposal put forth by Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman and Clare Bronfman to have a document by document review by the government’s Firewall Team to determine which documents should be considered to be subject to attorney-client privilege.

The Firewall Team – which is comprised of governmental lawyers separate from the prosecution team – examine documents to prevent attorney-client privileged documents from being given to the prosecution. The Firewall Team reviews and tries to resolve privilege disputes.

The government wants the defendants to identify which lawyers they claim are their lawyers with whom they claim their communications should be privileged.

The Government has filed their objection with the court.

In essence here is the dispute:

For months, the government has been in communication with counsel for Clare Bronfman, Nancy Salzman, and Keith Raniere and later, with counsel for Nxivm, Michael Sullivan – to attempt to understand the applicable privileges in order to conduct its privilege review.

It’s not working out well.

The government writes that they have “…been attempting to understand which attorneys represented the defendants, which attorneys represented Nxivm or any other entities, whether any common interest agreements were entered into between Nxivm and the defendants, and if so, the time period and scope of representations relevant to these asserted privileges.”

It can be confusing since the defendants had so many lawsuits and so many lawyers. It is hard to keep it all straight – especially since NXIVM litigation is never straight, but fraught with lies.

Not surprisingly, the government writes, “At present, however, the government has received inconsistent information from the relevant parties.”

Inconsistent information? How shocking.

But then it starts getting really interesting: Frank Report has often written about how Clare Bronfman perjured herself over the location of NXIVM’s server in the computer trespassing civil lawsuit and criminal complaints against Toni Natalie, Joe O’Hara, Barbara Bouchey, and John Tighe.

Now it seems Clare does not want the government to access certain documents – claiming privilege – on the topic of the NXIVM computer server.

Could this lead to Clare being finally charged with perjury for the awful thing she did – lie about the location of the NXIVM server to get the above-mentioned people indicted? If the government can access these documents she is now claiming are privileged, could it lead to more charges against her?

The government writes, “Clare Bronfman has identified Jonathan Ware, Esq., as an attorney who represented Nxivm and with whom she claims she had privileged communications in her capacity as a representative for Nxivm. However, counsel for Nxivm, Michael J. Sullivan, Esq., has informed the government that the privilege-holder of communications between Clare Bronfman and Jonathan Ware, Esq. over Nxivm’s server is Clare Bronfman in her personal capacity, and that Mr. Ware did not represent Nxivm.

“The information provided by counsel for Nxivm about any privileges applying to the records on Nxivm servers was inconsistent with the representations of Ms. Bronfman in other ways as well.”

Does this suggest the Government is actually, finally, investigating the massive fraud and perjury that Bronfman and Raniere committed to get several innocent people indicted on the computer trespassing case?

Time will tell.

Meantime, the government is getting more confusing signals from the defendants.

The government writes, “…counsel for the defendants Clare Bronfman and Keith Raniere have both asserted that the defendants entered into joint defense agreements with Nxivm at various times. However, Mr. Sullivan has indicated that he is not presently aware of any such agreements with Ms. Bronfman or Mr. Raniere.”

The government asked counsel for Raniere, Bronfman, and Nancy Salzman to provide lists of attorneys and law firms that represented the defendants – and with whom they claim to have had privileged communications.

The defendants object to even telling the prosecutors which attorneys with whom they claim to have privilege. They provided lists and charts of attorneys and law firms to the Firewall Team but object to providing the same list to the prosecution team.

The problem with this is that the prosecution team is in a better position to identify inconsistencies as to claims of privilege than the Firewall Team. Legal arguments regarding whether privilege exists, the scope of the privilege, and whether a privilege has been waived are generally litigated by the prosecution team. not the Firewall Team.

Bronfman-Raniere’s counsel prefers, however, that the Firewall Team proceeds with privilege review and for the parties to resolve any disputed issues as to privilege on a document-by-document basis during or following that review.

One document at a time?

Instead of identifying in advance which attorneys are privileged for whom, they want to take every single document –  one by one – and determine which are privileged.

The government writes, “This approach should be rejected. Conducting a privilege review prior to determining which privileges exist—or even who a particular lawyer represented—would be wholly impractical, not to mention highly inefficient and likely to cause significant delay in the case.”

The government argues that the Firewall Team can do its review expeditiously only after it has a “…clear understanding of the existence, validity and scope of the asserted privileges.”

The government requests that the court direct the defendants to provide the Lists and Charts to the prosecution team so that they can litigate with the defense whether privilege exists or not. Then the review can proceed.

A document by document review could take months.

The government has cited precedents that suggest that “The burden of establishing the existence of an attorney-client privilege, in all of its elements, rests with the party asserting it.”

It is not privileged in and of itself that there is an attorney-client privilege but rather that the contents of the communications are privileged.

Raniere-Bronfman object and claim even the existence of an attorney-client privilege should be privileged. Should Raniere-Bronfman prevail, it could delay the trial for several months.

It is curious that most of the objections are coming from Bronfman-Raniere and not Nancy Salzman. She seems to be involved mainly because many of the documents come from electronic devices which were seized from her home. And perhaps because she is the sole owner of the NXIVM corporation.


EDITOR’S UPDATE: A Status Conference has been scheduled at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, December 4th, to address the various competing arguments that have arisen concerning the issue of attorney/client privilege. The Scheduling Order for this hearing reads as follows (Note: The reference to “206” is the letter of objection that was recently filed by the prosecution team):

SCHEDULING ORDER as to Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Clare Bronfman, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman, Nancy Salzman. An in-person Status Conference is set for 12/4/2018 at 03:30 PM in Courtroom 13A South before Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon to discuss [206]. Mr. Sullivan, counsel for NXIVM, is requested to attend. Any written response to the Government’s submission [206] should be filed by 12/3/18 at 12 PM. The Government is ordered to send a copy of this Order to Mr. Sullivan and file proof of service thereof by 11/30/18. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon on 11/28/2018. (Pearce, Jessica)





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Frank Parlato


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  • “Raniere-Bronfman object and claim even the existence of an attorney-client privilege should be privileged.”

    WTF?! If granted, wouldn’t this set a dangerous precedent allowing crooks to further encumber and evade Prosecutors?

    I think we’ve all about had it with Clare’s “privileges.”

  • Sorry if this is a stupid question, but how come it’s a different judge? I guess I had just assumed all issues pertaining to the case would be argued in front of Judge G.

  • These defendants are really caught in a bind. Their past acts of perjury are coming to haunt them. All their past and current lying will convict them with all their inconsistencies I hope John Thigue is vindicated released and made whole financially

    Justice here would be to give them all jail time. Follow the money trail and leave them destitute as was the goal of all the litigation by Nxivm and their band of unethical attorneys.

    Money was one of the goals on the 12 points recited at every class. Money was one of their highest goals.
    He who has the most joy wins, therefore he who has the least joy loses! Taking their money will result in no joy for Vanguard and his followers. Perhaps a little adversity will build their strength and character!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Nxivm loyalist!

  • Of course, the defendants KAR and Clare Bear would want to bring as much confusion to who was who’s an attorney for what case. It’s right out of the Raniere playbook for legal cases. As pointed out in the Government’s letter to the Judge, they have already caught Clare saying one thing while the attorney in the case says the complete opposite. Saying anything to protect her Master seems to be Clare in a nutshell.

    Before her departure from NXIVM, Kristen Keeffee was most likely Cc: on many of the legal documents dealing with any case NXVIM was involved with. Keeffee would have shared information with NXIVM legal team (NXIVM members making 15.00/hour) pouring through what information they could gather on whoever they had in the hopper of the stacking via litigation.

    After Keeffee left NXIVM, someone had to run NXIVM legal department and most likely it was Clare Bear. It is below Clare to do any of the hourly duties worth only 15 dollars regarding NXIVM litigation. Let’s face it; it would be like her serving soup at the soup kitchen when she had more important things to do such as saving humanity.

    Clare would have passed this work and privileged information on to her sub-servants. Sharing any confidential matters outside of client/attorney privilege nullifies privilege.

    It appears that Clare and KAR are not scrambling to protect their lies by saying everyone involved had privilege. Any attorney in their right mind would not lie for them as Jonathan Ware, Esq appears to be clear about who he was representing in what capacity.

    Discrediting KAR and Clare Bear to the jury should be easy. Clare lied in the civil/criminal trespassing cases. Clare said one thing in the civil case and the complete opposite in the criminal case. Clare mixed stories were caught and pointed out in court documents, ending both cases.

    KAR took on AT&T & Microsoft saying he owned patients that he could not, after several attempts in court prove he owned. The Judge in the KAR vs. AT&T/Microsoft points out in her dismissal of the case that KAR had lied to the court several times.

    Clare Bear, KAR and Nancy Salzman ran a litigation machine. Together they attempted to destroy the lives of many people. The three of them have lied to the courts and legal authorities time and time again and in the end not winning these lawsuits as their lies were debunked. The one case they did win was overturned on appeal.

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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