Marc Agnifilo challenges DOJ

Status Conference: Raniere’s attorney invokes God as his witness in assenting to ‘complex case’ status – Judge limits his swearing to the court alone

The status conference was brief. It began at 11 am and was concluded by 11:30

It was mainly about the curious Bronfman irrevocable Trust that is paying for all her co-defendants’ legal fees.

Every attorney for the defense in court today – and there were at least 10 of them – is being paid out of that Trust.

The details concerning the Trust will evidently be seen by the judge “in camera” – which means the prosecution will not be permitted to see it.

Details will be forthcoming – in the form of a sealed submission for the court’s eyes only – about all the terms – and, evidently, also all the disbursements of monies – in the Bronfman-funded irrevocable Trust that is paying the legal bills for all the defendants except Clare Bronfman.

The trial is still set for March, but because of the designating of the case as a “complex case” – and the possibility of there being a superseding indictment – few courtroom observers believe it will actually commence in March.

The judge also required each of the attorneys to assent on the record that the case is complex. By doing so, the judge was helping to ensure that the normal “speedy trial” rules would not be applicable to this case,

Whether it was posturing, theatrics or a sincere ejaculation before the heavens, Raniere’s attorney, the estimable Marc Agnifilo Esq,. responded to the judge’s inquiry: “Before this court and as God as my witness, I agree that this is a complex case.”

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis replied, “God is not in this courtroom, just me.”

As for the defendants, Keith Raniere was there. He learned just hours earlier that his second bail motion was denied. He seemed to have moist eyes that were also a little red – as if he had been crying recently.

In his prison outfit, with ill-fitting black eyeglasses and uncomfortable looking prison slippers, he looked solemnly dubious and, with greyish skin, a vexed brow, and an anguished demeanor.

One courtroom observer, trying to succinctly describe his appearance, said: “He looked like shit.”

For one reason or another, Raniere, who is known to his followers as The Vanguard, seemed focused on one of the attendees in the courtroom – an extremely attractive woman – identified later by courtroom observers as his former girlfriend, Toni Natalie.

Many observers noticed that Raniere kept trying to stare her down while the court was in session.

The woman, Natalie, seemed to stare back at him at times. After a while, he would turn away or she would. It seemed to have captured the attention of several courtroom observers that he kept returning to stare at her. His efforts to try to stare her down almost seemed like it was as if he was saying, “I will get out of here one day and when I do – I will come and destroy you.”

However, this interpretation may be entirely wrong.

Raniere suffers from an extreme case of strabismus [cross eyes] – and it was difficult to determine at times which eye was actually engaged in trying to stare down his ex-flame – a woman he has threatened, harassed, sued, and tried to get indicted [and twice succeeded] for more than two decades.

Before the hearing, Allison Mack was seen outside the courtroom in a buoyant mood, seeming quite gay. She was joking with her attorneys and seemingly being flirtatious with any man who happened to look in her direction.

But once she appeared inside the court, her mood radically changed. She appeared pensive and solemn. As one observer said, “She was dowdy with an ‘Oh I’m dying’ look.”

As for Lauren Salzman – she was looking thinner than ever. Home detention must be agreeing with her for she is approaching the desired emaciation level that her Vanguard desires. It could be because she is losing weight, and not because of any actual increase in the size of her nose, but her nose fairly seemed to consume her face – and in profile was not entirely dissimilar to a proboscis  – although one observer called it pointedly “a snout.”

  Lauren Salzman


Nancy Salzman was not there again, having been excused because of her current medical condition. She is reportedly recovering from radical breast cancer surgery – and experiencing a series of side effects from her medications.

Nancy Salzman

Kathy Russell seemed quite mouse-like, yet at the same time bravely heroic as she readies herself to go to prison for years to take the fall for her superiors.

In the end, not much was accomplished or resolved – other than there will be a Curcio hearing for all of the defendants except Clare.  The government and the defense will agree on the terms of that hearing –  and the defendants – except Clare – will come back to court – and if not before God, at least before Judge Garaufis – as the judge attempts to determine if there is a conflict of interest with their attorneys being paid by their co-defendant Bronfman and, if so, whether the defendants will be allowed to waive that conflict.

All of Clare’s co-defendants’ attorneys have filed letters with the court saying their clients don’t care if there is a conflict of interest – and that they want to keep their present attorneys – with Clare footing the bill.

Nancy, because of her illness, will not have to attend her Curcio hearing.


About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is the founder of the FrankReport, publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.


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  • The separation between church and state is still a matter of speculation in the US? Whether or not, invoking the phrase ‘as God is my witness’ is a bit like ‘to be honest’ or ‘I swear on my ___’s life’, often this sort of preamble indicates a lie is on its way. If God really is your witness, if you’re really being honest, you don’t need to cover your own self in cliches of God’s or Truth’s glory, this is overkill, especially in a court of law.

  • The judge’s God complex reminds me of what my attorney told me before my first hearing when Amway sued me, and he didn’t know the judge at all, but said to treat the judge as if he was God, because the judge considers himself God inside the courtroom. Such arrogance does not produce justice, but it is obviously how many courtrooms operate.

  • Was any date set for the Curcio hearing or does that only happen later once the judge has reviewed the documents “in camera”?

  • “Whether it was posturing, theatrics or a sincere ejaculation before the heavens, Raniere’s attorney, the estimable Marc Agnifilo Esq,. uttered, “Before this court and as God as my witness, I agree that this is a complex case.” Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis replied, “God is not in this courtroom, just me.”

    I love this judge. That’s the best one-liner I’ve heard in weeks. It’s a shame photos are not permitted in the EDNY district.

      • Doesn’t mean that at all. You know how many people suddenly find God in jail? I believe he is setting a precedence that it’s a courtroom not a church.

    • Thnx for posting that for a fun re-read and makes a little more sense of my comment, too.

      Also, TK, wanted to tell you KAR grew up in Suffern, NY, a quaint burb full of Yiddish-speaking, super Orthodox Jews. He used to make fun of their superstitions and boast about how easily he could “guilt manipulate” them, etc. He’s just an anti-Semite and misogynist, IMO. You asked on another post why Hitler? Because that’s what worked on the Jewish acolytes, principally Nancy.

      • Hey Heidi! I also think the judge has a healthy sense of humor. There was no need for Agnifilo to invoke god in his reply. A simple agreement was all that was required.

        Thank you also for your reply to my question regarding Keith’s references to Hitler. While it makes perfect sense, for any of his Jewish followers to actually believe this rubbish is extraordinary. Don’t you think? This explanation goes to great lengths in describing how insecure Keith was a person. He needed to feel superior at all cost by holding this made-up shit over their heads Appreciate you sharing this with us. I’ll also go as far to censor my own comment, by saying that Keith was one [deleted] – up person. He deserves every bit of discomfort in his current environment at MDC. It’s minuscule in comparison to the significant damage and loss he cost others. He’s such a misogynistic bastard.

  • It is interesting that despite wearing prison clothing and prison issued glasses and in front of non followers in a court of law, Vanguard still believes that he is in a position of power and control. He still tries to intimidate Toni Natalie even in front of observers. Unsettling as it may be for Ms Natalie, I hope she attends the trial. A jury would certainly notice his behaviour and see the obsession and need for control.

  • Judge Garaufis may not be God — and is man enough to admit it — but he is most definitely a gift from God. And obviously gifted with a sense of humor and justice!

    Sad the defendants are not heeding the court’s sage warning regarding the glaring conflict of interests.

    Occurs to me, on a more positive note, that at least these girls were spared the fate of my sister, Kristin Snyder, Pam Cafritz, Barbara Jeske, John Natalie, etc. thanks to the intervention of the EDNY FBI and DOJ.

    At least in prison they may receive medical and psychological treatment they were and would have continued to be denied by KAR, if not deliberately made worse. In fact, I feel these indictments saved many lives including the girls who escaped being trafficked into a life of usary and abuse not worth living.

    • You’re right. Whatever happens in the wake of justice they will still have their lives and no matter how punitive the cost, while they have life they have the possibility to transform their situations, with help provided by the nation as a whole, via taxes, via justice. Amazing Grace indeed.

  • Marc Agnifilo is an a-hole, but it sounds like the judge has a bit of a god complex himself. Too many judges have that issue.

    • I didn’t hear anything close to a “God complex” from Hizzoner’s wry remarks. (And I’ve spent enough time around KAR and his orbit to know what one is.)

      • God most certainly was in that courtroom. Thanks be to God that we now have a justice department who cares enough to take down and prosecute
        NXIVM unlike the Satanic previous administration as well as the Satanic New York State government.

    • He didn’t mention the devil was in this courtroom either. He’s following court procedures. Does not mean he is an atheist, or a devil worshipper. His job is to be an impartial judge.



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