Judge Garaufis may choose to establish ‘Raniere Hearings’ on finer points of attorney conflict not contemplated in standard Curcio hearings

As previously noted, the purpose of the Curcio hearings that are being conducted by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis is to ensure that each of Clare Bronfman’s co-defendants is fully aware of the potential conflicts-of-interest arising from the fact that all their attorneys are being paid for from a Legal Defense Trust Fund that was set up by Clare Bronfman.

Judge Garaufis decided to hold the Curcio hearings to ensure that Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman and Kathy Russell all understand that they have a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney who has undivided loyalty to them – and that they are fully aware that the structure of the Legal Defense Trust Fund raises questions as to whether that is actually happening in this case.

After ensuring that Raniere, Mack, the Salzmans and Russell are fully informed about those conflicts-of-interest – and after hearing them all choose to keep their current attorneys – the judge will then have to determine whether their decisions to be represented by a conflicted attorney was “knowing and intelligent”.

Conducting these Curcio hearings is a means for Judge Garaufis to insulate himself from later criticism on appeal that a defendant unknowingly was deprived of her/his constitutional right to be represented by an attorney with undivided loyalty.

Properly documenting that all of Clare’s co-defendants made informed decisions to retain their current attorneys rather than having unconflicted ones appointed in their place does not eliminate the possibility of them appealing a conviction on those grounds.

It will, however, certainly provide the appellate court with the record it needs to quickly determine that any such appeal is meritless and dispose of it without wasting too much of its time.


Curcio hearings are held to question defendants about their awareness of their attorneys’ potential conflicts. Raniere hearings, on the other hand, could be established to question attorneys about their conflicts with their clients and other attorneys in the case. Just as Curcio hearings were named after Joseph Curcio a criminal defendant, Raniere hearings could be named after the world’s smartest criminal defendant and be another way to preserve the legacy of the man we know as Vanguard.

While Judge Garaufis showed great foresight and prudence in deciding to hold the Curcio hearings, the question must be asked as to whether that will be enough in this case to avoid the possibility of having any of the trial verdicts overturned on appeal.

Given the uniqueness of having all of Clare’s co-defendants being paid from the Legal Defense Trust Fund, perhaps Judge Garaufis also needs to conduct a separate set of hearings – which would henceforth be known as “Raniere hearings” – for those attorneys (Unlike the Curcio hearings, which are being held in open court, the Raniere hearings would be held in the judge’s chambers without any of the prosecutors in attendance).

Were the judge to hold such hearings, here are some of the questions he might ask each attorney to answer, under oath and with none of the other defense attorneys present:

– How did you first become involved in this case: i.e., were you contacted directly by your client – or did someone else contact you and ask you to represent your client?

– Did you inform your client that she would have to accept you as her attorney or pay for her own attorney?

– Who decided how many attorneys from your law firm would be assigned to your client?

– Is there a “Common Defense Agreement” in place for all of the defendants who are being represented by the attorneys who are being paid for out of the Legal Defense Trust Fund?

– Have you granted Marc Agnifilo the power to speak on your behalf with respect to any/all matters involving this case?

– Are you independently formulating the defense strategy for your client – or are you following the direction of some other defense attorney(s)?

– Have you been able to work as many hours as you feel are necessary on this case – or have your hours been restricted in any way?

– Have you filed all the motions and other pleadings that you think could be helpful to your client in this case – or have you been restricted, in any way, in doing everything you can to help your client defend herself against the charges pending against her?

– Are you receiving compensation for your work on this case from any other source other than the Legal Defense Trust Fund that was established by Clare Bronfman?

– Have you been promised any future compensation for continuing to represent your client after the Legal Defense Trust Fund runs out of money?

– Have you received any other referrals or other legal work as a result of your representation of your client in this case?

– Are you covering any of the out-of-pocket expenses that your client is incurring with respect to this case: e.g., travel costs, copying costs, filing fees, etc.?


One of the things that Judge Garaufis must do as the presiding judge is to create a full and clear record of any matters that might be disputed after verdicts are rendered so that an appellate court will have something meaningful to review.

Creating a record regarding how the attorneys representing Clare’s co-defendants are operating in this case would seem to be just as appropriate and prudent as holding the Curcio hearings.

Raniere once appealed the denial of a preliminary injunction in the Rick Ross case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court – which, of course, refused to even hear the appeal.

Imagine what he’ll do when he’s found guilty in this criminal trial – and is facing 20 years or more in federal prison.

On to the Raniere hearings!

About the author

K.R. Claviger


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  • Flowers
    Canada and the United States have a treaty in place to share information with regards to criminal activity. Raniere and Nxivm owes taxes on the profits Nxivm made. Given all of the information in the DOJ indictment, I seriously doubt Canadian income taxes were payed. I know it is speculation on my part, but seriously do you really believe the Canadian taxes were paid?

    I typed out my message this time instead of using Dictaphone . 🙂

    • I know NXIVM lied to Washington State Department of Revenue and didn’t pay Washington state B&O Taxes.
      They did get turned in when I had all the proof I need when they came after me in a lawsuit.
      They told the state they licensed they program to me, which was a lie
      When they sued me, in court documents they said I was an independent contractor
      All course money went to Albany and commissions were paid the following month. Each contractor was responsible for their own taxes. I always paid mine even after being told they were unethical my many NXIVM Leaders.

      All this in court documents so I’m not giving any technology away.

      • ‘Taxes’
        To Taxes
        Thank you so much for sharing.

        Do you happen to know if any individual NXIVM parties used Western Union or “gift cards” to ‘secret’ transfer money around? Did you ever hear any talk about safety deposit boxes?

        Are any of the questions that I have asked common or public knowledge you can share without breaking the confidentiality agreement?

        I would like to point out to you that on the state level depending on your state of origin you may be protected by the whistleblowers statute in your state from any lawsuits.

        On the federal level you are protected by the federal law for Whistleblowers.

        Would you be interested in sharing any information in the future anonymously?

        I do not mean to pry or scare you off.

        There happens to be a lot at stake concerning the NXIVM criminal trial.

        I wish you well all the same if I do not hear back from you.


  • Flowers,
    So Raniere just happened to launder money and evade taxes in the United States and Mexico; and paid taxes and laundered no money in Canada?


  • Krclaviger,

    I did a LexusNexus search and I can not find anything similar to this case in regards to a trial where one or more defendants funds the legal defense of other defendants.

    Is there any case law or trials or appeals you could post regarding similar instances of defendants financing the defense for other defendants?

    Have there been any successful appeals in similar situations?

    Just a link with no explanation would be great.


  • A meaningful contribution….you have presented an in depth, thoughtful set of questions that can establish the partiality or impartiality of the attorney’s representing the defendants.

  • Krclaviger,

    Were you an editor for your Law School’s Law Review?

    My guess is that at the very least you wrote some articles.

    The question is both a question and a complement since only the students with the highest GPA are asked to be editors as I am sure you are well aware.

    Thank you for the superb reporting as usual.

    The issues with the attorneys fees and legal representation of the clients has all the trappings of an Alan Dershowitz movie.


    What a nightmare this legal case could be ….. on appeal.

    This Nxivm legal case has the possibility of setting precedent if it is successfully appealed. Imagine if this case enters case law?

    I will pull all the hair out of my head or die of brain aneurysm; if this case is successfully appealed.

    No doubt it will be appealed.

    The good news is there is a possibility that the DOJ can hand over all of the evidence it has on Raniere and Nxivm to the Canadian’s DOJ and the Canadians can try Raniere and Nxivm. It would not be without precedent, similar events have occurred.

    Raniere has committed crimes in both countries.

    • The Canadian justice system can’t try Raniere on crimes committed in the US. If be has committed crimes in Canada, that would be an entirely new case, and I doubt that any of the US information could be “handed over” to the Canadian authorities.

      What crimes do you think Raniere has committed in Canada?

      • He committed crimes in tech Canada because he was not paying taxes on his income training income taxes and neither was any of the other defendants.

        There are taxes probably owed in both countries.

        • Flowers,
          Huge profits were made Canada do you really believe that nxivm happened to pay their taxes in Canada while not paying them in the US?

          I’ll put any amount of money on the fact that he did not pay his taxes in Canada and he is guilty and will get in trouble that if the DOJ turns the evidence over to the Canadian authorities they have it in green and between Canada and the US an issue like this you can look it up.

          • Meant ” weather in the United States have an agreement and a treaty regarding criminal investigations and evidence” .

            Did not mean green it was another iPhone dictaphone mistake

      • Flowers,

        On a side note I can practically guarantee Sarah Edmonson, the heroine, and her husband owe a bunch of taxes to the Canadian government. I doubt any Nxivm party was ever properly paying their taxes .

        • If they do owe taxes, the first thing the government will do is try to collect the money they are owed. They won’t press criminal charges against them first. …that would be a last resort.

          And everything you say is pure assumption and speculation. There probably were some crimes committed in Canada, but no where near the scale of the crimes committed in the US. If the US justice system cant get a conviction, Canada will not be able to, either.

          • Flowers I agree with your critique of my theory 100% . I am speculating and assuming much that is completely true.

            In regards to actual facts please read the following:

            The United States government leaves the IRS(treasury department) a lot of discretion in regards to whom gets fined and whom gets prosecuted.

            2 examples:

            1. An example would be the prosecution of the Tyco CEO. The CEO in question did not pay the sales tax for an expensive painting. The sales tax owed on the painting led to a subsequent in depth investigation. The investigation ended with a trial and the CEO going to prison.

            2. Another example.The Clintons failed to pay a portion of there taxes and only received a fine.

            B.) There is a treaty i.e. agreement that the United States and Canada signed that assures mutual cooperation in regards to sharing information involving criminal wrong doings and crime.

            I think that covers everything.

            In the future I will attempt to keep my responses shorter.

            Thank you for getting back to me.
            I appreciate it.

          • Nice guy,
            Obviously Revenue Canada would have gone after them already if they owed money.
            Canada doesn’t care if NXIVM owes money to the IRS, right? It’s not our problem.
            If there were financial crimes committed by NXIVM in Canada, you can be sure that Raniere won’t be the one charged.

          • Flowers……

            Your a glass is 1/2 empty…critical thinker?

            I sense you and Scot Tex2 have more in common than you think.

          • Flowers-

            Raniere’s I do not own anything defense would not stand up in any court anywhere in the world. Individuals have been playing that game since the dawn of civilization and taxes.

          • What do you think we have in common, nice guy?
            From what Scott has written about himself, I don’t see many similarities. Also, he happens to be about 1 ft taller and 100lb’s heavier than me….so obviously we are complete opposites🤣.

          • Flowers I was joking/kidding about comparing you to Scott. I apologize. Comparing anyone to Scott is an insult. I was not thinking. My bad.
            I did not mean to be an asshole to you. Comparing anybody to Scott is pretty bad.

            I apologize.

      • Flowers arguing with you is like going around in circles.

        I am sure you are a nice person but you would argue with God.


        I wish you the best!

        • I don’t have to argue with God, since the Universe is already on my side. However, I do have an ongoing debate with the Devil, and I think I might be winning. Or so I hope….

  • No lawyer has undivided loyalty to their client, a lawyer’s first loyalty is, as an officer of the court, to the court. Therefore, there is no need for a “Raniere hearing,” as all of these issues are already covered by the lawyers’ license, and therefore there is no basis for an appeal in this regard.

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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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
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