A new court order suggests that Keith Raniere’s attorney, Teny Geragos, will not be getting a job at the US Attorney’s office.
She applied for the job as an assistant US attorney after the trial of Raniere’s concluded with his conviction on seven felony counts.
Geragos’ application to the Department of Justice for the Eastern District of New York prompted a Curcio hearing to address potential conflicts of interest and brought Raniere back to court for the first time since he heard the jury’s verdict on June 19, 2019.
The judge sought to discuss with Raniere the potential of a conflict of interest in having one of his defense attorneys becoming employed with the government agency [and work with the same people] who worked so hard to convict him.
The first Curcio hearing was adjourned without a decision and Raniere had a taxpayer-provided legal representative [Avi Moskowitz Esq.] to advise him of his rights and risks – if he chooses to keep Geragos.
Raniere still has sentencing and a possible appeal ahead of him.
Based on his sex trafficking of Nicole alone, he will be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years. He is going to prison, as an absolute minimum, for more than a decade. With time served and time off for good behavior, he might be out and on probation in around 11 years – making him 70 [at the earliest] when he emerges to rejoin society.
The chance of him getting the lightest sentence, however, seems remote considering he was convicted of six other felonies besides sex trafficking.
Is There Still a Conflict?
As for the potential conflict of interest, if Gergaos is not going to work at the DOJ, it may be moot.
Here is Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis’ order:
“The court has been advised that Ms. Geragos’s application to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is no longer pending. Mr. Moskowitz shall provide a supplemental filing to the court regarding any ongoing potential conflict of interest by no later than October 18, 2019. In lieu of filing tomorrow, the Government shall file its response by no later than October 25, 2019. The Curcio hearing shall continue on October 31, 2019 as scheduled. Ordered by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis on 10/10/2019. (Davis, Eleanor) (Entered: 10/10/2019)
The Curcio hearing will take place anyway, likely because the judge wants Raniere to state on the record that he wants [or does not want] Geragos to continue to represent him.
He will also want Raniere to state whether he wants to continue being represented by Geragos’ law firm, Brafman and Associates. Raniere’s lead lawyer, Marc Agnifilo is a member of the firm.
Raniere might reason that his defense lawyer seeking to replace his prosecutor – even if she did not ultimately get the position – might still be a conflict and might lessen her zealousness to work toward getting him the lightest possible sentence – or dampen her ardor to work on his appeal.
What Happened to Teny Geragos’ Application?
Why Teny Geragos’ application to work at the DOJ is no longer pending is not clear.
She herself may have withdrawn it, or possibly the DOJ decided to hire someone else to fill the vacancy created when Moira Penza – fresh off her victory in the Raniere case – went into private practice.
It is possible that her father, celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos, is the reason.
His recent role in a criminal case being prosecuted in the neighboring district office of the Department of Justice – the Southern District of New York – may have had a hand in the decision – by either Teny or the DOJ EDNY – for her not to go to work there – at least for the present.
Next month, an associate of her father, lawyer Michael Avenatti, is going to trial in the Southern District of NY for the alleged extortion of Nike Corp.
Avenatti allegedly tried to get Nike to pay him $20 million – or else he would go to the media and expose the company for its alleged illegal or immoral practices concerning amateur basketball players.
Teny’s father, Mark, appears to be an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. Geragos was with Avenatti when the alleged extortion plot unfolded.
In just a few weeks, if the trial goes forward as scheduled, Geragos will likely testify in return for not being prosecuted – or he may himself be indicted.
In any event, he will be in the headlines for his association with the notorious Avenatti, who also faces charges for allegedly stealing millions in settlement money from five clients in California, and again in New York for allegedly stealing almost $300,000 in book advance money from his famous client Stormy Daniels.
Avenatti – and most likely Gergaos – were recorded secretly by Nike lawyers during their alleged extortion efforts. These recordings will be played before the jury and most likely become available to the media.
This will create quite a media circus with Mark Geragos right in the center. Depending on whether Geragos appears and how he appears on the tapes, his own career may be in some jeopardy. Even if he is not prosecuted, the bar association may take some action against him – up to including disbarment.
The DOJ hiring of his daughter – while her father is being roasted in the press – and possibly prosecuted – will create an unwelcome diversion for the otherwise staid and sober appearing DOJ.
Consider the possible spin.
We have the story of the lawyer who unsuccessfully defended the notorious cult leader Raniere – trying to go to work for the DOJ – while Raniere is awaiting sentencing – while her father is making unflattering headlines for his disturbing role in the Nike extortion case.
It is my guess that with these ticklish and controversial issues before the public, someone whispered to Teny that the time is just not right to go to work for the DOJ.
Who knows, Teny may be needed to help defend her father.