Marc Agnifilo: The Puppet-master?

Marc Agnifilo

By K. R. Claviger

In an earlier post, we reported that the Trust Fund that was set up by Clare Bronfman to pay for attorneys to represent her co-defendants in the NXIVM slave cult criminal case – and for attorneys to represent witnesses who are willing to plead the Fifth Amendment rather than answer questions posed by prosecutors in front of a Grand Jury – was rapidly running out of funds.

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, the U.S. District Court judge who is presiding over the case, revealed in a January 28th court hearing that more than 75% of the funds in the Trust Fund had already been depleted since it was established in July 2018 – and asked all the attorneys who are being paid from it to tell him, in writing, what they planned to do with the funds are completely gone.

Those responses, which were due to be submitted by Friday, February 1st, were all filed “under seal” or “ex parte” – which means that they’re not available to the general public.

But, while we don’t know exactly what the defense attorneys for Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, Allison Mack, and Kathy Russell said in their responses to Judge Garaufis, we do know that Raniere’s lead attorney, Marc Agnifilo, told the judge in court that he – and all the other attorneys – would continue to represent their clients even after the money ran out.

Agnifilo’s confidence that all the defense attorneys representing Raniere, the Salzmans, Mack, and Russell would continue to work without pay raises an interesting question: Who selected all these attorneys in the first place?

Normally, anyone who has been arrested or indicted will hire a criminal defense attorney to defend themselves – or, if they cannot afford to pay for one, ask the court to appoint one for them.

But in this case, it appears that none of Bronfman’s co-defendants were involved in the selection process of who would represent them.

Seriously, does anyone believe that Lauren Salzman spent time researching all the available criminal defense attorneys in the U.S. – and decided that James L. Burke and Hector J. Diaz from the Quarles & Brady law firm in Arizona were the ones she should retain?

Or that Kathy Russell did similar research – and decided that Justine Harris and Amanda Ravich from the New York City-based Sher Tremonte law firm were the ones she should hire?

Or that Nancy Salzman selected David Stern and Robert Soloway from the New York City-based Franklin, Rothman, Schneider, Soloway, and Stern law firm to represent her?

Or that Allison Mack somehow deduced that her best chance to stay out of federal prison was to hire Sean S. Buckley, Steven Kobre, and William F. McGovern from the Washington, DC-based Kobre & Kim law firm?


Of course, none of those things ever happened.

So, just who did select the attorneys for each of the NXIVM Numbskull defendants?

Was it Keith Raniere, the “smartest man in the world” – and the Vanguard of the NXIVM slave cult?

Or was it Clare Bronfman, the woman who financed all of the cult’s illegal operations – and who is the one actually paying for the horde of defense attorneys who are getting rich off this case?

Or was it Marc Agnifilo – who claims that he can speak on behalf of all the defense attorneys — and who quickly assured Judge Garaufis that they would all continue to represent their respective clients even after the Trust Fund was depleted without consulting with any of them?

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, Judge Garaufis will be conducting Curcio hearings to ensure that each of Clare Bronfman’s co-defendants is fully aware of the fact that their attorneys may have a gigantic conflict-of-interest since they are all being paid from the Trust Fund that she established to pay their legal fees: i.e., Is their legal advice being tainted by the fact that they’re being paid for from that Trust Fund?

But maybe the Trust Fund is not the only conflict-of-interest here.

Isn’t the fact that Marc Agnifilo, Raniere’s lead attorney, can seemingly commit all the defense attorneys to work for free an indication that they are under his control?

Isn’t the fact that Marc Agnifilo, Raniere’s lead attorney, the one who now speaks on behalf of all of Bronfman’s co-defendants at every hearing, a clear indication that the rest of the defense attorneys are merely his puppets?

Maybe Judge Garaufis also needs to conduct Curcio hearings for all the attorneys who are being controlled by Marc Agnifilo before the judge decides whether to appoint independent attorneys to represent each of Clare’s co-defendants.

Marc Agnifilo: The Puppetmaster? 





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K.R. Claviger

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4 years ago

Another good think piece, Frank. Keep em coming.

4 years ago

Great post as always, Claviger! (Wanted to say that again on your comments).

Really sad part for me is this “United we stand” strategy Agnifilo’s spinning really means United they’ll all fall! Plus, only Allison and Kathy are “falling for it,” while the Salzman’s and even Clare wisely want to severe themselves from KAR ET AL.

Further, the “separate trial” requesters are, unfairly, far better financed than the KAR ET AL’s bc, in part, they (Clare & Salzman’s) already rendered the Et Al’s who are sticking (and stuck) with KAR penniless and, soon, defenseless.

If Agnifilo is behind preventing Kathy & Allison from cooperating and requesting pleas, God help him and anyone in his karma stream.

4 years ago
Reply to  Heidi

“United we stand” and “refuse to negotiate” was likely Dennis Burke’s strategy which means it was Mexico’s strategy.

Burke might be out of it due to his conflicts now that he’s under investigation himself. It would help to explain his increased presence on frank report with constant nasty grams and name calling towards Agnifilo, who is still getting paid. Clare Bronfman was Burke’s only substantial client, other than Mexico. Makes sense Burke would be envious of Agnifilo’s billable hours.

The Retard aka Bangkok
The Retard aka Bangkok
4 years ago

I actually like this article by Claviger.

But I don’t think Mr. Claviger is giving Marc Agnifilo enough credit here.

The fact that Marc Agnifilo spoke for every defense attorney (in open court) shows that he was ALREADY prepared to answer any of these ‘tough questions’ which Mr. Claviger is now posing to us.


…Because common sense would dictate that the judge will be asking those same tough questions that Mr. Claviger has just brought up.

Thus, Marc would never have opened his mouth unless he was already prepared to answer such questions. He may be a clown but this isn’t his first rodeo.

I’m guessing that Marc could speak for all defense attorneys (on this one issue) because he likely meets with the other attorneys periodically to coordinate a joint defense on certain ‘common issues’ where a joint defense might be mutually beneficial to all parties.

Just because the various defendants have differences with each other (and seek to separate their trials) doesn’t mean that they can’t cooperate on ‘certain’ common issues or certain ‘evidence’.

I do agree with Mr. Claviger that all defense attorneys are likely being ‘influenced’ — at least slightly — by a central person somewhere (since it’s quite obvious that they weren’t chosen at random or thru a normal lawyer selection process). LOL.

However, unlike Mr. Claviger, I believe the person influencing these attorneys is a “behind-the-scenes” person connected to a future benefactor who will be paying their bills once Clare’s Trust runs dry.

I do not believe for one second that Marc THE CLOWN Agnifilo is controlling the other attorneys.

I believe that Marc Agnifilo and Teny Geragos are little more than honorary circus clowns, just singing and dancing for the court similar to a performing seal who’s been taught to play the trumpet.

Marc is smart enough to know what questions would be asked of him by the judge but he’s not a Mafia Don controlling anybody else.

I maintain that another benefactor will likely begin paying those legal bills once the Trust runs dry, either publicly or secretly behind-the-scenes.


[…] Claviger with your post Agnifilo the Puppet-master? but feel there may also be some southerly strings being not-so-masterfully pulled that Marc […]

4 years ago

Agree, Claviger, but feel there may also be some southerly strings being not-so-masterfully pulled that Agnifilo has little control over thus far.

As Jeff Peterson tells us, EMILIANO SALINAS referred Dennis Burke to Clare Bronfman’s “case” (or rather KAR’s “fuck-toy” immigration scheme) long before it blew up in Burke’s face.

Burke was on board by at least 2016 when “Kemar” was just a glint of an “anchor baby” in Keith and Clare’s crossed eyes. Long before Kemar and “Thor” were implanted to replace “Gaelen” in Clare’s “Rainbow Culture Garden” and Alejandro Betancourt’s multi-cultural, Clifton Park, NY nursery school FR recently exposed.

(Ergo, Burke & Sandweg are now under investigation in that immigration fraud conspiracy.)

I suspect that when Burke & co. got wind of a NX investigation, one they may have even inadvertently helped set-off, they scrambled to assemble a legal defense team that included themselves and their AZ pals to, at least, represent the Salzman’s in their alleged sex-crime innocence (HA!) and chagrin over Lauren being passed up as the Avatar baby mama.

Maybe Burke & co. DID plot with Emi & Alex’s Mexico lawyers —Duran, Duran — to have KAR arrested, consistent with Bangkok’s upset over that Agnifilo filing and Jeff Peterson’s theory that KAR is the designated sole scapegoat for the Mexicans.

The good news is Burke, er, Bangkok seems more and more out of control as Clare’s defense fund — his purse strings over defendants other than Clare — shrinks

Just think, had Keith done the right thing for just once and married Marianna Fernandez after deliberately impregnating her — they way they coerced Allison and Nicki Clyne into a scam marriage — maybe none of this would have ever happened.

…BTW, Claviger, LA RAMS are gonna DOMINATE today as GOD IS MY WITNESS! …And there’s a tiny typo in your headline re: “Pupper”

Top Dog, Shoebox and Coattails
Top Dog, Shoebox and Coattails
4 years ago

It’s interesting that Raniere’s attorney is speaking for all the defendants and their attorneys. Makes one wonder if there is a plan in place for payment when the Trust runs dry? Maybe shoeboxes will just appear at their offices.

Raniere and his band of criminals had to have seen the writing on the wall months before arrests were made. Plans for attorneys were put into place long before cuffs came out.

If an attorney is not admitted to the bar in the State of NY, they need a local firm/attorney to ride on their coattails, pro hoc viche. Is it known if any of the out of state attorneys have coattails are they riding?

Another Shoebox Please

Good point Top Dog. Lawyer(s) may SAY they will represent for remainder of trial at no extra fee, just to take cash under the table from defendant(s). Helps to wash those Benjamins that they did not claim.

Scott Johnson (@ScottTexJohnson)

The Curcio hearings could become a moot point, especially if the lawyers split when they are no longer getting paid. The question moves from being loyal to their clients vs. Bronfman to being loyal to their own bank accounts. Unless someone [from/representing Mexico?] is threatening them, why would they not want to move onto paying customers?

4 years ago

Good point on AgniSTEALO.

If he’s directing the other attorneys, then that is a conflict. If he’s getting a kickback or referral fee, that could be unauthorized fee splitting bc not all the lawyers are licensed in NY.

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


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