It did not take long for the judge to decide.
Judge Eric Komitee has ruled that Nicki Clyne, Danielle Roberts and Brandon Porter must appear in person on Thursday, February 17th, for a status conference regarding the Edmondson et al vs. Raniere et al civil case. Sara Bronfman does not have to appear but may call in by phone.
Judge Komitee ruled on February 11, that all defendants who are not incarcerated must appear in person at the February 17th status conference. The hearing arose out of an emergency request by plaintiffs’ attorney Neil Glazer concerning his earlier motion to prevent defendants from naming the plaintiffs who seek to be anonymous.
There are more than 70 plaintiffs – 12 of whom are seeking anonymity, while he other t59 are prepared to be named. Only nine of the 59 have been named to date.
Clyne has asked that all 59 who have agreed to be named be identified so that she can properly prepare her defense.
Roberts had an additional reason – her dog is dying.
Sara Bronfman sought to be excused because she is out of the USA and claims COVID travel restrictions prevent her from returning. The judge granted Bronfman leave not to appear.
Her attorney, James D. Wareham wrote to the judge: “…. Ms. Sara Bronfman lives outside of the United States and has not been in the United States since January 2019. She is unable to attend the conference in light of COVID-related travel restrictions, including the Health and Safety Protocols of the Eastern District of New York. However, Fried Frank attorneys will appear in person on Ms. Sara Bronfman’s behalf at the February 17 conference.
“We note that Ms. Sara Bronfman has no knowledge or involvement in the matters outlined in plaintiffs’ February 4, 2022 and February 10, 2022 letters. ECF Nos. 136, 140. Those filings do not claim otherwise. In addition, as the Court is aware, Ms. Sara Bronfman has not taken any position regarding the motion of certain plaintiffs to proceed pseudonymously in this action.”
Here is Judge Komitee’s order:
ORDER re  Motion to Appear by Telephone; re  Motion to Appear by Telephone; re  Letter dated 2/14/2022 from Danielle Roberts; re  Letter dated February 14, 2022 by Sara Bronfman — The Court denies the requests to appear remotely from the defendants whose conduct Plaintiffs challenged in their letters of February 4 and February 8  : Danielle Roberts, Nicole Clyne, and Brandon Porter. The other defendants who have requested to appear remotely may do so; those defendants are directed to call Courtroom Deputy Alicia Guy at (718) 613-2165 for dial-in information. Ordered by Judge Eric R. Komitee on 2/15/2022.
Frank Report consulted with an attorney familiar with this case, asking what would happen if the defendants did not appear.
The attorney replied: “Hard to predict – but the worst case would be bench warrants and fines. The fact that they acknowledged the original order, asked for relief, and were denied will work against them.
“At a minimum, sanctions are likely for anyone who doesn’t show up – along with an order to show cause why they should not be held in contempt, probably with a very short return date. And they’ll likely have to show up in person for that hearing too.”
Will Clyne and the others show up? That’s anybody’s guess, but considering that the reach of federal judges is long and powerful, my guess is that they will.
What will happen on Thursday is also anybody’s guess. Glazer will probably have to defend his reasons for not sharing the ex parte request to keep plaintiffs anonymous with the defendants.
The judge may admonish the defendants about not disclosing anonymous plaintiffs’ names until he decides whether they can be anonymous to the public. They will, in due course, be revealed to the plaintiffs.
The three pro-se defendants may also have a chance to present to the judge their claims that it is the plaintiffs, as well as their attorney and not them, that is doing the harassing on social media, TV, podcasts and books.
It could result in gag orders all around, preventing the plaintiffs as well as the defendants from disparaging one another during the pendency of the case.
Frank Report will be sending a correspondent to the court on Thursday.