Geragos might be arrested any time – even during Nxivm trial

Mark Geragos at one point represented Clare Bronfman.

It seems inevitable that Mark Geragos, who is Clare Bronfman’s lead criminal defense attorney, will have to step aside for her upcoming trial.

In fact, he may have a trial of his own.

Geragos is the co-conspirator in the Nike extortion case, allegedly perpetrated by fellow L.A. attorney, Michael Avenatti, 48.

If the allegations are true, Geragos worked hand-in-glove with Avenatti to secure between $15 and $25 million for themselves and about a million for their client – from Nike.

Avanetti, arrested and charged with attempting to extort Nike by the Feds yesterday in Manhattan, was released on $300,000 bond, with conditions including no contact with Geragos.

Yesterday, CNN confirmed Geragos he is no longer a contributor to the network and his name was removed from CNN’s website as a legal analyst.

a man wearing a suit and tie

According to CBS News, the criminal complaint in the New York case states Avenatti and co-conspirator “CC-1” [Geragos] requested a meeting with Nike lawyers in New York March 19 at Geragos’ office.

Celebrity Sightings in Los Angeles - March 22, 2019

Michael AvenattiAvenatti told Nike he represented the coach of an amateur athletic union basketball team in California whose contract with Nike had not been renewed. He said the coach had evidence of Nike employees making illegal payments to high school basketball prospects and their families.

Avenatti threatened to hold a press conference, to coincide with the beginning of the NCAA basketball tournament and Nike’s quarterly earnings call, where he would reveal the allegations against Nike.

Avenatti offered to cancel the press conference if Nike paid his client $1.5 million and hired Avenatti to conduct an internal investigation of the company.

After the meeting, Nike’s attorneys contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to report the alleged extortion attempt.

On March 20, Nike attorneys had a phone call with Avenatti and Geragos that was recorded by law enforcement. Avenatti reiterated his demands for payment.

“I’m not fucking around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games,” Avenatti was recorded as saying. “You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem. And it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing. A few million dollars doesn’t move the needle for me. I’m just being really frank with you.”

“I’ll go and I’ll go take $10 billion off your client’s market cap. But I’m not fucking around,” he said.

Nike’s stock is estimated to be worth about $128 billion. It dropped about 2 percent after the events of yesterday.

On March 21 — the day of Nike earnings call and the first day of the NCAA tournament — Geragos and Avenatti met again in New York, with Nike attorneys who recording the meeting.

Setting them up, while secretly recording them, Nike’s lawyers asked Avenatti and Geragos whether they could arrange to make a payment without an internal investigation.

“If [Nike] wants to have one confidential settlement and we’re done, they can buy that for $22.5 million and we’re done,” Avenatti said. “Full confidentiality, we ride off into the sunset.”

On Monday morning, March 25, Avenatti tweeted he was holding a news conference on Tuesday, March 26, to announce he had uncovered a college basketball scandal.

“Tmrw at 11 am ET, we will be holding a press conference to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered,” Avenatti tweeted. “This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball.”

Avenatti was arrested less than an hour later.

It is not known if Geragos was planning to attend the press conference.

Money Inc. estimated Geragos’ net worth three years ago at $25 million.

Among his most renowned cases, Geragos was one of the lead lawyers in two groundbreaking federal class action lawsuits against New York Life Insurance and AXA, for insurance policies issued in the early 20th century during the time of the Armenian Genocide of more than 1.5 million Armenians. The two cases settled for over $37.5 million, in 2004 and 2005.

Geragos represented actor Keith Carradine, his spouse, actress Hayley DuMond, attorney Stephen Kolodny, and designer Donna Dubrow in a class-action lawsuit following private eye Anthony Pellicano’s illegal wiretapping conspiracy and subsequent conviction.

Geragos first came to national attention when he began representing convicted Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, the former business partner of former President Bill Clinton. Geragos completed his representation of McDougal by securing a presidential pardon for McDougal on January 20, 2001.

He also represented McDougal in a 12-count embezzlement trial in Los Angeles in which the jury returned a not-guilty verdict.

Geragos defended actress Winona Ryder on charges of stealing more than $5,500 worth of merchandise from a Beverly Hills store in 2001. She was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to undergo psychological and drug counseling.

Geragos represented Michael Jackson in his molestation case. At the same time, he represented Scott Peterson in his capital murder case. Peterson was found guilty and sentenced to death, and, on April 26, 2004, Jackson removed Geragos as his attorney, suggesting that Geragos did not have had enough time to handle his case because of his workload.

Geragos won dismissal of alcohol-related counts against President Clinton’s brother, Roger Clinton Jr. in 2006. He won a dismissal of a prostitution charge against film director Lee Tamahori.

He was the attorney for Cameron Brown, accused of murdering his four-year-old daughter by throwing her off a Rancho Palos Verdes cliff. The first two trials resulted in hung juries. The third trial saw Brown convicted.

In 2007, Amphit Dhaliwal and Kulbir Dhaliwal, two survivors of the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo, hired Geragos to represent them. Geragos filed a federal suit against the Zoo and the City of San Francisco for violation of the Dhaliwal brothers’ civil rights. Geragos settled the civil suit for $900,000.

In 2009 he represented Chris Brown and got him a no-jail plea deal to one count felony assault. Brown was sentenced to 5 years probation and 6 months of community service.

Geragos is presently representing Colin Kaepernick, Jussie Smullet and Clare Bronfman, among others.  Today all charges were dismissed against Smullet for reasons that remain unclear at this moment.

At this point, it seems unclear if Geragos will avoid indictment.  He might become a key witness for the prosecution against Avenatti and gets immunity for doing so.

Either way, his future with Clare Bronfman seems uncertain. With this scandal swirling about him, not likely to resolve itself soon, he will be a distraction for Clare’s case at best and he will be distracted himself.

He might even be arrested during the trial of Clare Bronfman – which is presently set to begin April 29.

Based on this, it seems most likely that Geragos will not represent Clare Bronfman at her upcoming trial. Whether this will militate toward her making a plea deal also remains unknown.

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Frank Parlato


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  • I think the case against Avenatti is much stronger, but still weak overall in the aspect of the extortion. Of course, if Avenatti is a tax cheat, steals money from his clients, and lies on bank loan applications – those things are violations of criminal law and can be prosecuted as violations of the U.S.C.

    But, is there a tape of the conversation that he and Geragos had with Nike? Did Avenatti say, “Hey Swoosh, unless you pay me $15 Mil, I’m going to the FBI and have you arrested and brought up on criminal charges?” That is extortion.

    Or did Avenatti just say, “Hey Swoosh, unless you pay me $15 Mil, I’m going to expose you and run you through the wringer with your NCAA violations (that are not criminal, but civil in nature). I’m going to embarrass you. I’m going to pull your shorts down and expose your vienna sausage and skid marks.”

    I would like to hear the tape. Maybe Geragos wasn’t indicted because the evidence wasn’t there. Maybe Geragos will stay onboard the case because as long as Clarebear is fully aware of the potential issues, and waives them, then that is okay.

    Being an aggressive attorney does not rise to the level of illegality. And misconduct can happen on both sides of the case – prosecution and defense. As in, why does Smollett get a pass? Because he’s rich. Is that fair to the poor person rotting in Cook County Jail because they cannot post a $2,500 bond? Chicago isn’t exactly known for its honest politicians. Hello Mayor Daley.

    Let’s get full disclosure and let’s hear the tape. And let’s also get the info on the Smollett dismissal.

  • Even if he isn’t indicted, unless somehow his hands are squeaky clean and he was acting as a cooperating informant from the moment that the scheme crossed the line into extortion, I would assume that he still faces action from the Bar. While that might be a slow process, if the trial were for some reason delayed or drawn out, then he could end up suspended or even disbarred while it was still going on – so I don’t see how he can avoid having to withdraw from the case, with such a cloud hanging over him.

    I still think Bronfman will fight on, in hopes that if she invests enough in an aggressive crew of mob-type lawyers like Geragos, that it will eventually overwhelm the resources of even the feds and their ability to stay on top of all the details without making mistakes, and result in her getting off the hook somehow – the sort of strategy that has worked for Scientology, which NXIVM is known to model. Come to think of it, this debacle even sort of illustrates that if a defendant has the resources to thrown enough lawyers at a case, then things are bound to occur that could provide grounds for appeal.

  • Jussie Smollet just suddenly had all 16 counts against him dropped. He goes free. I’m sure Empire fans are cheering. This outcome is so corrupt. Proof once again there is no justice. Gregaros was one of his attorneys. There will be no surprise when charges against Gregaros are dropped in the Nike scandal. And furthermore, this is a foreshadowing of a potential corrupt dismissal of all counts against none other than Keith Raniere. What a huge stinking pile of bull shit.

    • Chicago police are correct when they say this is a punch in the gut. Corruption goes all the way up. I won’t be surprised if Penza is bribed into dropping all charges against Raniere. Threats to her family, etc. I am starting to think there is no real justice. While we all think Raniere’s case is a done deal, he will probably miraculously walk free. Makes me sick to my stomach.

    • The charges were not dropped. Smollett was offered a deferred adjudication deal. As long as Smollett completes all conditions, the case will be dismissed. The conditions include a fine, community service hours, and maintaining good conduct while on the probationary period (no drugs, alcohol, arrests, etc.)

      • My bad! There was no deferred adjudication or deferred prosecution. The charges were just dropped.


        • Right?! I’m thinking the same thing. WTF?? The only thing they did was keep the $10,000 bail money.

          • Which if he’s innocent is fucked up too. Extortion. We’re gonna go ahead and keep the ten grand, even though you’re innocent and we’re the victim of a hate crime. What does that say? If he’s innocent, why keep the 10k? Because he’s not innocent and this ruling reeks of corruption at high levels. He knows he’s guilty, so of course he’s okay with them keeping the money. He’s just glad to be done with it, so he’s willing to kiss the boots of his corrupt emancipator. If Raniere walks the same way, I would hope there is a vigilante out there willing to snipe him the moment he walks out of court.

          • He may still face federal charges. The hands of Harris and Booker and the Moochelle Obama are involved in this. It will not stand.

          • The case smells, that much is true. But who is the guilty party here?

            Smollett may still sue Chicago PD, according to his lawyer (not Geragos), but the fact that he hasnt asked for the $10 000 back isnt proof that he’s guilty. $10 000 isnt much money for him, and I’m sure he’s just relieved at this point (especially if he really is innocent.)

            The weird part is that the police are positive about the identities of the 2 brothers who attacked him, but yet no one seems to be able to come up with a sold motive.

            The claim is that Smollett hired them to stage it because he wanted the publicity. But there is no evidence that Smollett ever paid them for that-:he wrote them a cheque for about $4500, I believe, but this amount was to pay them for their work as personal trainers.

            Does anyone really think Smollett would be so stupid as to write them a (traceable) cheque to participate in committing a crime? Probably not. Does anyone really think these guys would agree to participate in a crime for such a measly amount of money? Hmmmm….

            The fact remains that these guys did attack him, but the real questions are why and who paid them to do it? If it was not Smollett who hired them, then there is a much bigger cover up going on here, and it points to corruption in the Chicago PD.

            In the last few months Smollett was really attacking Trump on SM and publicly. Was he setting himself up to be a hate-crime victim, or did he make certain people angry with his criticism of Trump?

            And did Smollett hire Geragos because he knew about his reputation, or did Geragos contact Smollett?

            How did Geragos end up working with Avenatti on this Nike scam , but yet Geragos avoided arrest and Avenatti didn’t?

            If the police could at least confirm who paid the brothers to attack Smollett, they would be able to solve this.

        • Yes, it’s very strange. Chicago’s mayor (who has been accused of covering up corruption before) is extremely angry over the dismissal and claims Smollett is guilty. Smollett maintains that he’s innocent.
          The 2 guys who attacked him either lied about being paid to attack him, or Smollett lied and filed a false police report. And now no one is charged with a crime in this case? WTF?

          • It is the corrupt democrat stonghold of Illinois. These corrupt idiots are leaving enough room for the federal camel to stick it’s nose in the door and uncover a shitload of corruption. As Q has stated, these people are fucking stupid.

          • Fluers
            March 26, 2019 at 4:49 pm
            It is the corrupt democrat stonghold of Illinois. These corrupt idiots are leaving enough room for the federal camel to stick it’s nose in the door and uncover a shitload of corruption. As Q has stated, these people are fucking stupid.

            You are entirely correct.

            Recused State’s Attorney Kim Foxx ‘was behind the decision to drop the charges against Jussie Smollett’, claims police union source as it’s revealed the Empire star is ‘still the subject of a federal probe
            State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is accused of being ‘behind the decision’ to drop charges against Jussie Smollett
            Foxx recused herself from case because she exchanged texts with Smollett’s family member after incident
            In the days after the attack, she tried to wrestle the case from Chicago PD and have the FBI take over
            Smollett’s family were exchanging texts with her and said it would be a ‘huge victory’ if the FBI led the probe
            She is now facing calls for an Attorney General investigation into how she handled the Smollett investigation
            First Assistant Joe Magats stood by his decision to drop the charges and said it ‘was not a whitewash’
            Smollett completed 16 hours of community service between Saturday and Monday and gave up $10,000
            Magats insists that he thought it was enough because the star is ‘not a threat’ and has no criminal background
            Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it was a ‘whitewash’ of justice that Smollett had been cleared on all 16 counts
            Smollett was facing 48 years behind bars on 16 felony charges for allegedly lying to police about the attack

          • Really lady just stfu already. You are totally clueless to what is really happening in the Smolett case. The FBI is a lot more involved than you know and a few of your democrat party reps are involved. Stay tuned petunia because your bullshit spin is freaking entertaining.

          • Scott, I hope so. This far, the dropping o all charges suddenly reeks of corruption that can be smelled from all four quarters of earth! The Feds better do something. The State Prosecutors have made a fool of themselves. Their names should be named and not hidden behind “State Prosecutors”. Social media is crying out fraud and I hope will not let up until something is done and the charges reinstated.

          • Somebody chill man, it is leading to where it belongs

            The Jussie Smollett case just got even more bizarre with potential troubling revelations.

            Internal Chicago Police records show detectives employed a top FBI Supervisory Special Agent specializing in investigating the trafficking of sexually exploited children, child prostitution and aggravated child sexual abuse to help investigate the Smollett assault hoax case.

            During early stages of the investigation, records show, Chicago Police shared Intel with the FBI and FBI Special Agent Gregory Wing was working the investigation daily alongside city detectives.

            But Wing supervises the Child Sex Crimes and Violent Crimes Against Children squad in the FBI’s Chicago Field Office and is considered one of the top agents investigating child sex trafficking in the country, according to the FBI.

            What is one of FBI’s premier child sex crimes and child sex trafficking investigators doing working an assault case? Wing and his FBI task force track down high-profile pedophiles and pimps. He doesn’t intervene with local assault cases.


  • What’s the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? One is a slimy, scum sucking, bottom feeding scavenger. The other is a fish.

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.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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