Judge Threatens to Arrest Raniere’s Lawyer Mark Fernich — Fernich Says Garaufis Should Be Arrested! As Tempers Explode at Restitution Hearing

Marc Fernich for the defense?

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.



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Frank Parlato


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  • Mr Fernich can anagram his name into
    “I French.” But that would very likely be untrue, too. Vive la France!

    “Give him this to go cry” said the kindly Judge Garaufis as he picked up a Kleenex box, all without needing any boxing gloves. This needs to be in the movies; it was so good.
    The Judge MUST be a Virgo. The Kleenex gives him away.

  • Re Mark Fernich:

    I believe Mark Fernich is being unfairly stigmatized and/or portrayed as a stereotypical, egocentric and narcissistic, New York City attorney, by the Frank Report.

    I believe K.R. Claviger will agree with my opinion. This article is an affront to Claviger and his brothers and sisters of the New York Bar!

    Perhaps, Claviger and I met once at the Nassau County, Garden City Bar Association…..

    • Assuming that our correspondent accurately reported what happened in court yesterday – and, based on other media reports, it sounds like he did – I don’t think there was any particular slant to our reporting with respect to Mark Fernich. I also think that Mark likely said what he said because he’s pursuing a specific strategy – which will be interesting to watch unfold.

      • What do you think is his strategy? To get the judge to look bad publicly to get the public outraged by him? Is it to push the judge’s buttons?

  • Keith blindsided his attorney when he stated that he was unprepared having only a one-hour phone conversation with his attorneys as prep for the restitution hearing. Is Legatus up-to-date on those invoices for legal fees?

    The restitution hearing was not something that was suddenly put on the calendar. Judge Garafus was correct in giving a short adjournment.

    Keith’s lawyer is a fool, just like his client, to think that Garaufis would accept the lame funeral and shiva excuse. This Judge is a street smart New Yorker – and way too smart for these two dimwits.

    Perhaps Keith has come to the realization that he will be leaving Tucson Federal Pen in a box or a body bag, therefore, he has opted for a shorter life expectancy. That would explain Keith’s statement, I have not handled the collateral and I don’t know where it is.

    We may have a martyr in the very near future.

    • Keith didn’t blindside his attorneys. They’re all just trying to get Judge Garaufis to pull a John Sweeney where he shouts and discredits himself.

      • This judge is way smarter than Mr 2.6 Keith and his arrogant attorney. Judge Garaufus will not be manipulated by these two.
        I’ll send you a box of Kleenex

  • Completely shocking behavior by the lawyer. Not a great look for the judge either.

    Simply put, lawyers have a high ethical standard to meet and there are very few conditions that justify your failure to prepare. Unless the deceased is a close family member, a funeral is not grounds for a continuance, period. Client needs come before your own and, if it’s an important matter, you skip the funeral. He wasn’t entitled to a continuance and didn’t get one. That should have been the end of it. Attacking the judge about it at oral argument is totally unacceptable as a matter of professional responsibility and legal ethics. I would not be surprised if the NY bar association took disciplinary actions.

    • Abelard, I don’t think you’ve worked with many lawyers. I worked with a number across two cultures and they all had the same mindset. You seem to have read a lot about lawyers just like the Americans like to learn about the planet we live on, from the dishes served in their broadcast media.

      • Alex, you are mistaken. I am a lawyer who has tried cases in federal court before federal judges and juries. In my 20 year career, I’ve worked at 2 law firms with hundreds of lawyers apiece, and worked alongside and against hundreds of others from various other firms and governmental units. Thanks to requirements of continuing legal education, which include ethics training, I’m very well informed about standards of lawyer behavior.

        Your vast experience with lawyers has lead you to make a very clumsy mistake. Sadly, I wonder how valuable this experience is, since it has lead you so terribly astray.

        You seem to be a condescending person who cannot imagine that anyone could be as well informed as you, and who assumes that opinions that don’t line up with yours are the result of ignorance or misinformation. You are very comfortable stereotyping and also seem to have a clear cultural bias. In light of this, perhaps you aren’t in a very good position to be judging others. However, my guess is that you will continue judging others regardless of your own obvious imperfections. Let’s see if that guess about you is more accurate than yours about me.

        • Maybe Alex works with Anthony’s “Two Lawyers”?!

          Or IS one of the two lawyers?!!

          That would be really exciting! Because those 2 lawyers never got back to the esteemed Claviger. Or to anyone on Frank Report.

          And Anthony was so certain of so much the 2 lawyers at his work told him… And so wrong.

        • Abelard,
          I do apologise. My post above was inappropriate. It was caused by frustrations coming from varied directions and it was getting too much for my tolerance level on that particular day.
          As far as the manner I view the US, it is based on statistical data over the past thirty years. I am sure that having a discussion on the subject does not change reality so we’d both waste time.
          Thank you for taking the time to reply in detail given my initial attitude.
          I am sorry, once again!

  • This judge should not have offered a Kleenex to Fernich. That’s insulting behavior. But fernich also should not have lost his head and shouted at the judge.
    I mean that cannot possibly help his client.

  • Tactically stupid on the lawyer’s part, he was just pissed at the hit to his ego that a standard delay request was denied (the courts and their delays…) and he missed out on a chance to network with a bunch of lawyers, business leaders and politicians at the funeral. The person that died was irrelevant, it was the missed business opportunities that got his dander up this much to act so stupidly in court.

    It should be noted that “The Shiva begins immediately after the burial and lasts for seven days” It’s a true time of mourning for family and close friends. It’s not really for someone that is going to a funeral because “esteemed member of the bar”. His attempt to use shiva as an excuse (incorrectly) is the main reason I suspect monetary and networking loss opportunity caused this outburst, not mourning. Clearly, the judge knew it was bullshit too.

    • Totally right. It was a meritless and transparent attempt to turn himself and Raniere into victims.

    • It wasn’t “tacticly stupid” to antagonize the judge, it was the ONLY smart move, and it worked a little bit.

      And we’ve all known this was coming! Raniere was telling people he wanted to target the judge back before he was even found guilty. He kept going through lawyers till he found ones that are willing to be his courtroom slaves rather than his lawyers.

      • I agree. Antagonizing the good judge Garaufis would be a standard tactic for Raniere—and his only tactic. Narcs know that good people can easily be roused to righteous indignation by insolent contempt, which is then used against them. It’s bs.

        All the old organ grinder’s lawyers are mere flying monkeys earning small fortunes for abusing their own profession. Keith Raniere certainly ruins everything he comes into contact with — what a special talent.

    • The lawyer wasn’t upset over loss of business opportunities, he was trying to upset the judge so the judge will discredit himself and Raniere can get a new trial.

  • “Government shouldn’t be in the business of policing morality.” But Fernich and other human trash can be in the business of defending human garbage like themselves and be permitted to sputter faeces during court proceedings.

    How nice!

    • The government *is* already “in the business” of policing morality. It does it everyday when it enforces the law. There is no separation of the law and morality. The law establishes the regulation of human behavior and morality is the latter.

  • The Fernish fellow got what was coming to him. It could’ve been managed better, on his part, to attend to both his personal life and to his moments in court. There was no excuse to get all persnickety about it. This was not about him. Poor Mr. LIchtman, caught in some strange crossfire. Quite a way to address the judge, who’s the one who is beholden to keep order in the court. But it is entertaining anyway.

    • No “poor Mr. Lichtman”, he was in on the plan. If he had gotten his private conference, he could have come out of that conference and claimed the judge said something REALLY inappropriate, and then use Lichtman’s false witness to discredit them.

    • Makes perfect sense. Keith doesn’t give a flying fuck about restitution, his only chance is to somehow discredit the judge who oversaw his trial. It was obvious that he would hire an attorney to fairgame the judge. If they get under his skin enough for him to discredit himself, Keith might walk someday. And in the meantime, Keith’s having a blast upsetting the judge.

      • Typical narcissist gameplay. If you can’t win, create havoc and try to frame the other person as ‘unfit’ (volatile, emotional, etc.) See ‘Anonymous’ posting at 5.17 pm (the very first comment) trying to paint the Judge as ‘volatile’, etc. “From my experience in the courtroom with this Judge ….”; yeah, right.

        • This is called “poisoning the well”. It’s a form of ad hominem.

          It’s ironic that the dead-enders call out the use of the latter and then engage in it themselves. So much for their “critical thinking”.

          Or is it intentional? Then so much for their “ethics”.

          Either way, they lose.

          Just like their idiotic VanFraud.

      • Anonymous at 11.52 pm. Yes, typical narcissistic playbook. Deny everything, paint yourself as innocent and try to discredit the judge by any means possible. (The last time it was “the judge should know he is being watched” – wonder how that threat went down). You only have to read the first comment here (quick off the mark, whoever this person is? One of the 5 die-hards?), to see the pattern. “From my experience in the courtroom … this judge is volatile, emotional, unreliable, etc…”

  • From my experience in the courtroom with this judge; he is volatile; he’s flirting with Ali Mack 1 minute and he’ admonishing someone else the next. The sentencing is all our of wack as well: Bronfman gets 3 X the recommended sentence; Mack gets 80% less than the recommended sentence. Where does that make sense?

    The judge is a traditional macho guy whose sense of manhood easily gets upset with a high need to show his power and control. I question if he is fit to serve?

    • On the one hand, it’s obvious that you’re here as part of a coordinated plan to discredit the judge, but that doesn’t mean you deserve a good answer to you query. Mack cooperated, Bronfman didn’t. TBH, Bronfman will be lucky to only serve 3x the recommended sentence. Bronfmann will very likely re-offend and face charges for crimes in the future.

    • I’m thinking that it is more a strategy from Keith: Do things that will upset the judge so he seems unfit and then Keith can get a new trial

    • This is typical behavior of narcissists: provoke a reaction from others to discredit them. The judge is wise and did not play into this. The lawyers are acting as the flying monkeys of Keith.

      It is important to learn about narcissism. They all act from the same playbook. Let’s recognize what is happening

      Keith should just be moved to a harder prison.

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