Village Diane: I was there at court today and this is what I observed – Don’t think Clare was faking her faint

Clare Bronfman leaves court with Mark Geragos about an hour after fainting in court

[Editor’s note: I interviewed Village Diane by phone today. She attended the court hearing and this is what she told me.]

By Village Diane

Clare and her attorneys did not arrive until less than 10 minutes before the start of the hearing. The hearing didn’t start right away.

Mark Geragos was fairly jovial, but not as much as he was at the last hearing. But he did not look worried.

Before the proceeding began, Clare left the courtroom for about 20 minutes. I don’t know if she was already feeling unwell. I thought at first she was going for a bathroom break, but it took longer than what a bathroom break would normally take.

Keith was there in court. He had shoulder-length hair. I thought he looked quite feminine.

At the hearing, one of Bronfman’s attorneys read a letter asking the judge to clear the courtroom for the hearing. When Clare’s attorney stopped reading, the judge asked one of the reporters in the courtroom, John Riley from Newsday, if he had an objection.

Riley said he objected, adding that it was important for the public; transparency was important. And there’s a compelling interest in this remaining open to the public.

The judge asked if any other journalists wanted to say anything. A few of them did. They basically said they wanted to consult with legal counsel before making a response on the record. Other journalists there were from the New York Post, Bloomberg, Courthouse News and also there was Vanessa Grigoriadis who previously had written a lengthy article about Nxivm for New York Times Magazine.

The judge decided not to clear the courtroom and said if there was something he felt didn’t need to be public, he would make a sidebar. He said that all previous Curcio hearings were public without any problem.

He said his concern was to get the truth and get full answers.

In the previous Curcio hearing, Clare Bronfman said she found Marc Geragos through searching online.  Apparently, the judge had been told that Geragos had a previous relationship with the Bronfman family.

Garaufis also wanted to know if there was another attorney involved in the case.

He was very angry. He said, “I want the truth.”

It came out that Michael Avenatti was also representing Clare.  That was what the judge wanted to know about. Avenatti had not made a notice of appearance in the case.

The judge asked for a sidebar. At first, Clare was sitting and a woman [an attorney] was touching her back and comforting her. Clare got up. She and her attorneys went up to the bench. They were standing.

I couldn’t hear what they were saying but the judge looked angry.

I think Judge Garaufis did say to Clare, “I want the truth. I want you to tell me the truth.”

When they were escorting her back to her seat at the defense table; someone was holding her to walk back slowly.  The judge was yelling. He was angry.

Clare looked like she was having a little trouble.  At some point, Clare’s body became rigid. She sort of collapsed into her chair.  Something was definitely wrong. It wasn’t a fake, I don’t think. It was something medical.

Her attorneys surrounded her, and it was hard to see her. When the attorneys kind of parted, I could see that she was talking to them.

I doubt she was faking her fainting. She’s very thin. I got a chance to look at her in lighter clothing. She barely has hips. She does not have a mature woman’s body anymore.

About half an hour later, a stretcher came and a retinue from the fire department and EMT came and they put Clare in a side room and covered the window of the room with paper so that no one could see in.

It was quite a wait before we found out what was to happen. I believe Keith was not in the courtroom during that time.

When things got started again, Keith reappeared.

A woman told the court that it had been recommended to Clare that she go to the hospital, but she did not want to, she just wanted to go home and that she was unable to continue today.

They postponed the Curcio hearings. One is going to be rescheduled for 2 pm tomorrow and the other for 3 pm on Friday. I believe Clare’s Curcio is for 2 pm tomorrow.

At that point, the judge addressed the attorneys and said there was no privilege with regard to who is counsel for defendants and he expected answers tomorrow.

I think he was kind of telling the lawyers how he felt about not knowing about this other attorney [Avenatti] and that they tried to avoid telling him.

He was angry because he felt nobody had told him that Avenatti was involved in this case.

There’s no privilege the judge said with regard to who counsel is. He was angry at that.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Thanks, Dianne but I still believe Clare’s little spell was more of a FEINT than an authentic FAINT based on her classic NXIVM training, other eye witness accounts and Clare Bronfman’s long record of deceit, attempted bribery and other “entitlement” tyranny over the U.S. justice system.

    What an affront to the Court for Clare to secretly hire “pimp” Avenetti in a farcical attempt to politically influence the outcome of this case to begin with, much less to have bald faced lied about her representation to the court at recent hearings even as the Court attempted to protect her and other defendants from potential conflicts of interests Clare herself caused in her corrupt belief that she can buy her and KAR’s way out of their culpability in even these most heinous crimes against innocent children.

    The sympathy should go first to KAR and Bronfman’s long list of victims, then to the Court itself in light of this and many prior NX attempts to mock the Court throughout these proceedings.

    It was and is Judge Gaurifus’ duty to defend his court and, thereby, the entire American justice system itself from such a scourge as KAR, Clare Bronfman and NXIVM have deliberately attempted to wreck upon it since the company’s inception.

    Judge Gaurufis has given plenty of warning that his patience is wearing thin.
    If Clare’s highly vaunted, corrupt counsel didn’t prepare her for the “shock” that maybe this time she won’t get away with perjury and might face some rebuke, that’s her problem too.

    But, again, I say they knew it was coming and planned the distraction according to KAR’s mentoring.

    Just look at those ate-the-canary, Cheshire Cat grins on she and Geragos faces as they exit the Courthouse!

    Power to Gaurufis. Next time give Clare a Twinkie to suck on…and sanctions!

  • Bronfman appeared to have lost weight since her first court appearance in July 2018, and her face was a ghastly yellowish white.
    (from Court News Service)

  • Last year we thought Ben Szemkus’ story about a NXIVM mixer near Yale University was crazy.
    This mixer included everyone from Stormy Daniels to Allison Mack.

    Well now the NXIVM case features the hilarious comedy of Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ attorney and alleged extortionist, working for Clare Bronfman.
    NXIVM is like a surreal Fellini film featuring a cast of all kinds of characters.
    Can the NXIVM case get any weirder?

  • The moment of Truth. Clare’s world is crashing down all around her.

    My question: who are her OTHER attorneys?

    • “My question: who are her OTHER attorneys?”

      Go to the Library. A good library.
      There should be a big reference book called Martindale-Hubbell that will list all of the attorneys in New York state.
      Turn to the New York section and that will be a full list of all of Clare Bronfman’s attorneys.

      Before this NXIVM case is finished all these attorneys will be on Clare”s payroll.

      Or go to this website

  • Thanks for the reporting.

    As I tried to post on the earlier piece, but may not have gone through, the TimesUnion reported that she appeared pale at the time, which is consistent with a real vasovagal episode. It’s a stress reaction that can come on rapidly, and resolve relatively quickly.

    Another article said that she looked like she had lost a lot of weight since her first appearance in court.

  • Thanks for publishing this, Frank. Small clarification. The judge was not yelling at Clare in the interval after the sidebar, when she was being helped back to the defense table just before she fainted.
    Also, I did not hear anything the judge said at the sidebar. YouTuber Roberta Glass says a noise machine was turned on in order to muffle the sidebar.

  • Maybe, just maybe, Clare finally sees how dark her fate is.
    Frankly I feel no compassion for Clare. She used her inhetitance to destroy so called “enemies” and those who left the fold.
    I hope I live long enough to see her in prison.

  • Frank, you wrote: *Geragos* also wanted to know if there was another attorney involved in the case.
    I think you meant *Judge Garaufis* wanted to know…..

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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