The restitution hearing is over.
In the beginning, Keith Raniere’s attorneys, Jeff Lichtman and Marc Fernich, were apparently quite friendly with AUSA Tanya Hajjar and quite civil with the presiding judge, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
No one could have expected the fireworks that were to erupt at the end.
In our last post, we reported on the temporary adjournment — Raniere Speaks at His Own Hearing – Judge Interrupts Proceedings -Part 2 of Restitution.
The call for the delay was based on Raniere’s surprise statement via video conference that he had not had a chance to consult with his attorneys except for a one-hour phone call and, therefore, was unable to properly defend his position.
The judge agreed to a short adjournment.
When they came back from the adjournment, Raniere’s attorneys asked Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis to delay the restitution hearing for another day giving them a chance to meet with their client.
While this is not a verbatim report, since recording devices are not permitted in federal courtrooms, and our correspondent is not a stenographer, our correspondent reported that the judge said to Fernich, “You ask me to delay the proceedings to attend the funeral, but you have Clare Bronfman paying your fees and you couldn’t go see your client before this hearing?”
The restitution hearing went forward and in our next post, we will report on who got what.
In the meantime, we will describe the fireworks that occurred at the end of the proceedings.
After the judge ruled on which victims got what amounts of money, the judge asked if either the prosecution or the defense had anything to add. The prosecution said they did not have anything to add.
Once again, this is not verbatim but it will Frank Report readers an accurate description of what transpired:
Fernich: Yes, I have something to add. l can’t believe you brought up the funeral. This funeral was for an esteemed member of the bar. I resent what you did.
As Fernich spoke, Judge Garaufis mocked him by standing up and telling his clerk to offer Fernich a Kleenex and added, “Give him this to go cry.”
Fernich continued, getting angrier: I resent what you are doing. This is disgraceful. This violates human decency and professional courtesy.
The judge got angry and shouted, Be seated or I’ll have you arrested.
Fernich said, You should be the one arrested, this is disgraceful.
There was a bizarre quiet in the court and the two men glared at each other. The courtroom fell into a deep silence.
After a while, the judge said, Stare at me all you want.
Fernich said, “Same to you.”
The judge, who said the schedule actually gave Fernich enough time to attend, sat for a half-hour in stony silence until the lawyer apologized.
The judge said, Mr. Fernich, you are asking for a delay – I’m from Queens I know how long it takes to commute to the funeral and back.
Fernich said “False” – and then said there would be a shiva after the funeral.
Judge: Be quiet!
Fernich. No, not when you are slandering me in public. I asked you for a one-hour delay. It is a matter of public record.
Judge, You are interrupting me every time. I have never seen anything like this.
Fernich said, Neither have I.
Raniere was silent all this time.
After a period of silence – by all parties – where it was hoped perhaps that tempers would cool – some 15 minutes, Lichtman asked to approach the judge privately.
Judge Garuafis denied his request.
Lichtman tied to calm Fernich down and apparently persuaded Fernich to ask the judge to speak with him privately.
Garaufis denied his request and said, “This is a criminal matter and it’s all on the record.”
At the end, a reluctant Fernich apologized to the judge for “losing my temper.”
The Judge said “I’m sorry for your loss.” The judge did not reciprocate the loss of temper apology.
It is not known if any complaint will be lodged against Fernich.