Nxivm prosecutor Mark Lesko promoted to #2 position at EDNY

Mark Lesko
Yesterday, Eastern District of New York DOJ prosecutor Mark Lesko told Judge Garaufis that he met with Mark Geragos and Michael Avenatti concerning Clare Bronfman’s criminal case.
This revealed publicly the surprising news that Avenatti likely represents Bronfman.
The revelation, not coming first from the defense, angered the judge, who declared there is no attorney-client privilege concerning whether or not an attorney represents a defendant in a case.
The judge pressed the defense for an answer – if Avenatti – who was arrested this week on attempted extortion charges – indeed did represent Bronfman. This caused the delicate heiress to faint dead away.  She recovered shortly thereafter and left the courtroom – without answering the judge’s question.
Fainting heiress Clare Bronfman leaves court with Mark Geragos, evidently feeling much better after dodging the question from Judge Nicholas Garaufis of whether she secretly hired Michael Avenatti as one of her attorneys. With Bronfman is her not so secret attorney, Mark Geragos.
Frank Report previously reported that Lesko filed a notice of appearance in the Nxivm case.  He was a prosecutor with the EDNY DOJ, from 2002- 2009, then left and turned politician.  He was deputy head of the criminal division on Long Island when he left the DOJ and was elected three times as Brookhaven supervisor.
Lesko then left elected office to become executive director of Accelerate, a not-for-profit organized to develop biotech companies on Long Island. He was also vice president for economic development at Hofstra University.

We also reported that, given Lesko’s expertise in successfully prosecuting cases, his return to the DOJ and participation in the Nxivm case would be a formidable addition to the prosecution.

Now, it appears that we may have underestimated just what a force Lesko will be on the case.  This week, Richard Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the EDNY [appointed by Trump], named Lesko, as chief assistant U.S. Attorney — the No. 2 person at the EDNY.

The EDNY has about 175 federal prosecutors. The district includes Nassau and Suffolk counties, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.  Lesko replaces Bridget Rohde, who was named Donoghue’s special counsel.


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Frank Parlato


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  • After I read the transcripts and took into account the mistrial/appeal potential in addition to the disrespect factor, it makes more sense now. Thanks crew.

  • I have been wondering the same thing. KR Claviger, can you fill us in and shed light on this? What was Clare’s motive for lying about how she found Geragos? Why does it matter if she found him on the internet or if her family already had a relationship with him? And what was her motive for hiding that Avennati is representing her? What benefit do those two actions have for Clare? Why didn’t she just say yeah i have known Geragos for some time through my family. And why didn’t she just inform the judge that Avennati is also now representing her? Those seem like stupid lies/omissions. Motive?

    • Clare doesn’t know how to tell the truth. It wasn’t just her, it was her lawyers as well. Now we know why the defense didn’t want this hearing to be public. The judge was not impressed.

  • Adding on to Natashka’s comment – I don’t get why the Avenatti thing is such a big deal or why the judge would be pissed about it. Avenatti is likely a dirty character and if anything Clare should be in panic mode about her representation – not the judge. Unless the omission is a sign of disrespect to the judge and proper protocol? I must be missing some legal context here so someone please educate me 🙂

  • Can I ask, why the big secrecy of him representing her? Why the lies to how she found Geragos? Is there any benefit to all this? Or was it just more stupid errors by the heiress and her attorney clowns? She sure knows how to pick em. Who would have thought any less after the fiasco concerning her and the attorney and the storage unit.

    • The defense team wanted to keep the whole hearing private, and now we know why. The real secret was the horse-trading Avenatti was attempting to do last week, the charges against him are just the icing on the cake.

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.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com