Village Diane: Observations on Clare Bronfman, at her Curcio hearing yesterday – her follow up after fainting

Clare Bronfman

By Village Diane

Marc Agnifilo and Teny Geragos — Keith Raniere’s attorneys were also in the courtroom for Clare Bronfman’s follow up Curcio hearing yesterday –the day following her “fainting” spell.

Ben Brafman was also there. [He is senior partner with Agnifilo and Teny Geragos in the law firm Brafman and Associates].

Brafman had represented Mark Geragos in the Nike case. But Brafman told the court he was no longer representing Geragos, and he was only Geragos’ attorney for a couple hours.

Clare approached the bench with her Curcio appointed attorney, Donna Newman.

This time, Clare’s legs were not wobbly. She seemed a lot stronger than she did the day before. She did not appear faint.

Judge Garaufis asked her how she was feeling?

It was hard to hear Clare’s answers.  Her voice sounded hoarse.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better,” the judge said, “You’re still under oath.”

He explained the purpose of the Curcio hearing was to ascertain actual or potential conflicts that would interfere with the ability of counsel to represent her properly.

There were a number of issues which have arisen with lawyers, he explained.

The judge asked her to confirm that Michael Avenatti is not representing her.

Clare said, “That is correct.”

The judge asked if she was aware that in media reports about the criminal complaint against Avenatti, in the Nike case, that Mark Geragos has been identified as Co Conspirator #1?

She said yes.

The judge explained that Geragos has criminal exposure in the Southern District of New York.

“Mr. Geragos may be prosecuted. You understand that?,” he said.

Clare said she understood.

He could be charged or prosecuted, the judge said. “I’m not saying it’s likely or unlikely but it’s possible Mr. Geragos may be prosecuted.”

She understood that, she said.

Clare was asked if she was aware of a meeting on March 19, [where Geragos and Avenatti met with Deputy US Attorney Mark Lesko to see if she could get a plea deal for Clare, if they were to provide evidence to the US. Attorney in another case.  This would result in a potential purchase by Clare of years off her sentence in return for some big money paid to her lawyers. Justice for sale.]

Clare said she was aware of the meeting.

The issue was raised that the Avenatti/Geragos case might bleed into her criminal case.

At one point, Donna Newman was answering questions the judge was directing to Clare.

The judge seemed heated when he said, “I want an answer to my question [from Clare]” and for Newman not to filter answers for her.

He said to Newman, “I want her answers…. If you can’t do that, I’ll appoint somebody else.”


As for her fainting, I was chatting with reporter who said that Geragos claimed Clare really did lose consciousness for 30 to 45 seconds on Wednesday.  To me, that makes it more strange that she rejected going to the hospital, but it was her decision.

When I saw her faint on Wednesday, I thought it was genuine. I’m not 100% convinced anymore. I saw her body go rigid. That doesn’t happen when you pass out.

Another observer who saw the same thing interpreted it differently.  She felt that Clare collapsed into the chair. I wonder if Clare has a different medical issue? I’m not 100% convinced she did not fake it.

As for her physical appearance, the first thing you notice is she is very, very thin.

She always wears very baggy pants. So you can’t really tell how thin she is below the waist.  She is a little broader in the back than I initially thought, but still it doesn’t look like she has any extra upper body weight.

She’s is thin. Crazy thin. I wouldn’t say anorexic yet, but very, very, very thin.

Her complexion was better than trhe day before when she collapsed. She didn’t seem to have much color in her face.

At some point during the Curcio hearing, the judge said something about jury selection. I wasn’t really able to catch all of that, but I understood, that at this point, it looks like the trial is going forward as planned.


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  • Is Clare deserving of empathy? Well, on a philosophical “love everyone” level, maybe, if that’s your thing. But of all the NXIVM heavyweights that I crossed paths with ten or so years ago, Clare Bronfman was, far and away, the most condescending, arrogant, cruel and unpleasant person of them all. In fact, I never met a bigger fucking asshole in my entire 40+ years of life.

    So many NXIANS walked around with that creepy, goofy smile plastered across their faces all the time, but Clare was always just dour and fucking mean. To high-and-mid-level NXIAMS, she was somewhat friendly, but low-level NXIANS and pretty much any other human being were treated by Clare with open contempt and disgust. I cannot imagine what it was like for Toni, Frank, Barbara, Kristin Keefe, and the rest to have that level of evil aimed at destroying them.

    Perhaps her life of being raised by hired help, with little love or affection from her parents, and the unimaginable circumstances of being raised with an inconceivable amount of money at her disposal, turned her into a monster. So, if one tries to understand the reasons behind her evilness, maybe one could muster up a sliver of empathy.

    But not enough to excuse the pure evil she represented and spread amongst humanity. Fuck her, forever.

    • I know exactly “…what it was like for Toni, Frank, Barbara, Kristin Keefe, and the rest to have that level of evil aimed at destroying them.” Lonely, and all but Frank didn’t do anything effective to bring down NXIVM, because he’s the only one who publicly went after NXIVM and gained support for his efforts.

  • I also want to note, as I realized recently, that Clare is actually the younger Bronfman sister – in photos of the two together, she looked older, and I assumed she was. But their Wikipedia entries show that 3 years separate them. Apparently being involved with Raniere has been hard on her, and in the photo with this article she looks as if she’s aged the way that smokers do, while in some of the other courthouse photos with her glasses on she looks old and dowdy, even though she’s not even yet 40. Sad, really, though it’s hard to sympathize with her given what she’s done, particularly to those she saw as her and Raniere’s enemies.

    I don’t think there’s any way to determine whether or not Bronfman’s episode was genuine, though I’d note that it seems to have happened in a strange enough way that it doesn’t sound to me like what someone would do in attempting to fake a classic swoon, such as crumpling to the floor in front of the bench. Someone previously said that people just faint, and don’t catch themselves, but I know from having experienced the onset of a vasovagal episode, that is not actually true. And in a vasovagal episode, the face and brain are drained of blood because it’s going to the lower body instead, so it’s possible that someone’s legs might stiffen. Plus there were reports that she appeared pale, and and that her face did seem to go white, which are consistent with the real physiological symptoms. My long-term observation is that attempts to piece things together from afar, frequently turn out to lead to incorrect assumptions.

    Thanks once more for the reporting.

      • Looking over some of her better photos, from better days, she used to look presentable when she did a bit of something with her hair, and was taking better care of herself. I don’t believe that women should have to put a lot of effort into appearances, but I think that if she did some reasonable minimums, and looked after her health, she wouldn’t exactly be ugly. Her sister Sara, for instance, has always taken advantage of her curly hair, rather than pulling it back tight like Sara, and looks reasonably attractive – plus healthier.

        Ironically, one of the success-oriented groups I was once involved with long ago, that probably had at least some minor influence on NXIVM, emphasized cleaning up sloppy appearances, and the basics of good grooming including finding a hairstyle that was flattering. Clare’s careless appearance would be considered downright unprofessional in many contexts – just look at the women in her attorney clown posse, in comparison.

  • I have tremendous empathy and sympathy for Clare, like Lauren Salzman, she has been with Keith all of her adult life and that sleazebag Vangone robbed her not only of her wealth and station in life but also her self worth. I think Clare has had an awakening of sorts out of her brainwashed state and hope she comes fully to her senses. If the others are facing 4-6 years, I would hope she is treated as fairly. I’m rooting for you Clare Bear. We know that God works all things together for good for those who are called according to His purpose. In the end, Clare, somehow and someway, there will be good to come out of this and you’ll be the catalyst to bring that good about in some way. God works in mysterious ways, it will be interesting to see how he sorts all of this out. Shalom.

    • I agree, I think every rich b!tch should be able to misuse the court system for decades. I have so much empathy and sympathy for Clare Bear that she should only get a fat lip once/week from her fellow inmates while in prison for several years. Perhaps they should take a break and kick her in gut from time to time, or smack her upside the head when in the mood.

    • Limited to just the activities charged in this case, it could possibly be seen that way.

      However, Bronfman has gone out of her way to use her extraordinary resources, and cynical willingness to bend if not corrupt the justice and law enforcement systems, to persecute and hound imagined enemies. That ought to be prosecuted as well, with her given many more years behind bars to atone for her crimes, though it’s possible that her wealth and influence have bought her a pass from being held to account for any of her unjust actions in Northern New York. There are also many other crimes, such as money laundering and tax evasion, for which she may be held to account.

      Even with Raniere in jail, and her considering cutting him loose, she’s still reportedly plotting with some of the most expensive attorneys in the country, to go after Frank even further. That sounds to me like she’s largely unrepentant, and still operating on the evil basis of ends-justify-the-means thinking and heartless selfishness.

      Real repentance on her part, would require the most profound and humble of apologies, and her using her remaining resources to try to make whole all the people that she saw ruined while she was under Raniere’s sway and enabling his evil madness. Barring that, a just God would see her spend most or all of her remaining days incarcerated.

      The appropriate reference, is to the trials for crimes against humanity at Nuremberg, where perpetrators, accomplices, enablers and propaganda apologists were fully held to account.

      • The fact that till this day she continues to go after Frank is all one needs to know she’s still all in. She has no regrets, only concerned with clearing her own ass. She deserves many years behind bars but I doubt it will happen with her wealth.

    • A Place of Hope sounds like a wonderful place and I have deep compassion for those who struggle with eating disorders, but fuck Clare Bronfman, I wouldn’t be sad if she fucking starved herself to death. There are no victims in NXIVM, after all.

  • Diane is now discussing the intricacies of a rigid body during fainting. lol.

    FACT: Diane has no clue whether she really fainted.

    FACT: People legitimately faint for reasons such as extreme embarrassment, anger, fear or shock.

    For Diane to claim that Clare didn’t experience any of these things — and faked it — is journalistic bullshit at best. In fact, with the judge hounding her and putting her ‘on the spot’ I’d guess that she felt extreme emotions consistent with legit fainting.

    Diane didn’t treat Clare and was nothing more than a rubbernecking observer.

    *If you want to see a defendant REALLY fake a heart attack in court (while serving as his own counsel) watch this funny video to completion, including after it happens when he’s slumped in his chair while the judge calls him a faker. 🙂

  • Clare needs to stay strong and not betray the man she vowed to follow. Clare is at fault here. Her father Edgar Sr. created this torment of Keith back in 2003. It was her BiG mouth. So she better not lie and betray Vanguard. It’s so unjust. He gave her everything.

    • “Her father Edgar Sr. created this torment of Keith back in 2003.”

      Nah. Keithy boy did that all fine and well to himself. Remember, there are no ultimate victims according to the Keithy boy’s own bullshit philosophizing.

      VanFraud should suck it up and live with the manipulative choices that brought him to where he sits today.

    • Yo, Yolanda:

      How’s Legatus Pro Temp?
      I really enjoyed her insightful post from last January.
      It must be very stressful for Legatus Pro Temp taking over from Keith, Allison and Clare.

    • Really? What did he give her?

      On the other hand, what did she give him: based on reports – her money, the use of her property, her protection, her devotion, her trust, her obedience, her power ….

    • No history, but she’s used to Judges buying her bullshit or being afraid of her last name.

      I think she was in shock. She got her hand caught in the criminal cookie jar. This Judge knows exactly what kind of deal her attorney and his criminal sidekick were trying to sell the EDNY.

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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