One Lawyer Is Best in His Field; One Not Yet a Lawyer: Elliot v. Lionsgate Hearing to Dismiss

Marc Elliot is suing Lions Gate Films, the producers of Seduced, for:

  1. Defamation per see
  2. Defamation by implication
  3. Appropriation of name or likeness,
  4. False light
  5. Intentional infliction of emotional distress

A hearing to “strike” – another way to say “dismiss” – the lawsuit – is scheduled for October 28, 2022,.

The venue is in US District Court in Riverside, CA.

Lionsgate argues the judge should dismiss Elliot’s lawsuit because it is a SLAPP [strategic lawsuit against public participation].

Legislators enacted California’s anti-SLAPP statute to check “lawsuits brought primarily to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional right of freedom of speech and petition.”

Lionsgate claims Elliot’s lawsuit is a SLAPP because they did not defame Elliot.

Seduced’s treatment of Elliot does “not convey verifiable statements of fact, but are instead constitutionally protected opinion and/or hyperbole.”

Seduced uses experts and firsthand accounts to recount the “damaging” conduct of NXIVM, Raniere, and other group leaders. 

Brandon Porter, Nancy Salzman and Marc Elliot shown in STARZ’s Seduced.

Lionsgate claims they never “imply” Elliot – “unlike other NXIVM leaders – engaged in criminal or wrongful behavior.”

Elliot alleges that because of the proximity of his appearances to damaging statements about Raniere, Seduced portrays him badly.

The hearing is in response to Lionsgate’s motion to strike filed in February.

US Judge Sunshine Suzanne Sykes will preside at the hearing. She is 48. 

Biden appointed her; she took the federal bench four months ago.

Judge Sykes

Sykes, a Navajo, and former state court judge, is wired with the Democratic Party in California. 

The entertainment industry is a significant donor to the Democratic Party in Riverside and Los Angeles.

That is not a good omen for Elliot.

But it gets worse.

Jean-Paul (JP) Jassy [above] of Jassy Vick and Carolan represents the deep-pocketed Lionsgate.

Jassy is a First Amendment lawyer specializing in media, the internet, and entertainment.

But he is not your average lawyer. His clients include “internet giants, television networks, metropolitan newspapers, motion picture studios, nonprofits dedicated to free press and free expression, top-flight production companies and award-winning reporters.”

For over a decade, his peers have named him annually to The Best Lawyers in America® in the First Amendment field, and recognized him six times as “Lawyer of the Year” in Los Angeles in his areas of practice. 

In short, Jassy is one of America’s premier First Amendment lawyers. His peers respect him, and no doubt so do judges, their magistrates, and their law clerks. 

Nathan Dondi is not yet a licensed lawyer.

On the other hand, Nathan Dondi, of Tully & Weiss represents Elliot.

Dondi may be a bright and rising talent, but he is not a licensed lawyer. 

He was a security guard, paralegal, and law clerk. He graduated from law school but has not passed the bar exam. He is working under Tully’s law license as a Provisonally Licensed Lawyer. [PLL] 

California’s COVID-inspired PLL law allows law school graduates who have not taken or flunked the bar exam with threshold scores to temporarily handle matters under the supervision of a licensed lawyer.

Dondi will have to pass the bar exam or put in enough supervised hours to become a lawyer.

Law firms use PLLs for low-priority and low-budget matters. 

So you have the best in the field versus a guy who has not yet become a lawyer. 

Viva Executive Success!


About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • RE Dondi is a Lawyer and not an Attorney:

    “Nathan Dondi is not yet a licensed lawyer.”

    Actually……IF individual graduates Law School he’s technically a lawyer…

    However, if the individual has not passed the bar he’s not an attorney and cannot appear in court.

    99.9% of non-legal professionals do not know the difference. I’m not knocking Serran. He’s a great writer and I love reading his articles.

  • I think Marc is self promoting and arrogant, but at least let’s attempt to give citizens a level playing field in court.

    This is a joke.

    • What do you suggest? Mark brought a civil suit. You think the public should pay for the attorney of Mark Elliott’s choice in a frivolous lawsuit? Nobody forced Mark Elliott to choose the attorney he did. Claire bronfman would probably pay for any attorney that Mark Elliott chose

  • Still waiting for Marc Elliot to share his cure for Tourette’s.

    It’s no joke. He says his was severe and if his videos are true then whatever treatment approach they implemented worked.

    But if Elliot really suffered he’d be sharing the “cure” for Tourette’s fast and furious and he certainly isn’t doing that.

    Instead he moved to be near Raniere in prison, and is devoting his time to lawsuits and self-promotion.

    Marc- where’s the cure for Tourette’s???

  • So, the big black dude who’s supper happy is doing the under paid position of an actual lawyer 🤔 At least it’s still better than a real lawyer. Liar lawyer what’s the difference?

  • Liz Truss takes the Daily Star to court:

    “I am NOT a Lettuce!”

    Except she doesn’t, because even when mocked, she has on her Big Girl pants.

    Poor Mark Elliot, the heart of the Free World bleeds for you..

  • with every other NXIVM lawsuit = a total failure

    No doubt it’ll be dismissed

    Another L for the world’s smartest man and one of his boyfriends

    Viva ya’ll !

  • Marc Elliot unfortunately will lose his case, not because his complaints are invalid, but because the prevailing narrative is that he is part of “team bad guy,” even though he hasn’t done anything bad. So the protections that should be afforded to anyone in his position will not be afforded to him.

    Here’s the small silver lining, the small victory that he gets; by showing us the manipulation of the footage and audio where the network made it look like he was supporting KR speeches condoning violence when Marc was actually responding to completely different statements, it hammered home to the people paying attention that this is fake, that this is entertainment, a commercial for India Oxenberg (much like The Vow is a commercial for Edmondson and Vicente), and not an objective, educational, informational series on sexual violence. The manipulation calls into question everything else that is presented to us in the same series. It calls into question the honesty and credibility of the narrator of the series, who we now know is not reliable.

    Did Allison really do those things to India? Did Allison really give her an assignment where she was made to sleep with KR, in exchange for Allison being paid for her work in The Source? Did that happen? Or is that accusation just as manufactured as what they did with the footage of Marc Elliot?

    Oh, by the way, if India’s story is 100% accurate, then who is she to make a target of Marc Elliot, who, last time I checked, is not linked to any criminal activity?

  • RE Marc Elliot’s Legal Case:

    No one said anything *defamatory about Mark in the documentary. The video was slickly edited from public footage.

    Mark is regarded legally as a public person So the legal threshold to sue slander is much higher.
    He is a motivational speaker, who speaks publicly.

    Mark Elliot was a member of NXIVM. It’s not slander to say “he was a member.”

    The lawsuit is a joke.

    I suspect the lawsuit is a PR stunt by Mark to vindicate himself with the general public.

    *Legal Definition:
    Defamatory (of remarks, writing, etc.) damaging the good reputation of someone; slanderous or libelous.
    “a defamatory allegation”

    Personally, I believe what the documentarians did was unprofessional and wrong.

    It’s in the same light as everything Michael Moore does,
    which is bend the truth to the point that it’s a lie.

    • It’s not slander to say that Marc Elliot was a NXIVM member. Taking footage of him clapping at one speech to make it look like he was clapping at a different speech that seemingly condones violence, yes, that is slander. It portrays him in a false light, was done intentionally, and with the intent to harm.

      And the person who is portrayed so positively in the same series was far more involved than he ever was, to the point where she was considered a co-conspirator by the Federal Government. What nerve these people have

    • Hasn’t Marc Elliott done enough to defame himself?
      His support of Keith Rainier even after Raniere’s conviction of several RICO charges for one.
      In 2014, Elliot married a Canadian NXIVM student, actress Maja Miljkovic, to help obtain a work visa for her. The marriage ended following an investigation by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is another example.
      Elliot credits NXIVM co-founders Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman for curing his Tourette syndrome using the so-called “Rational Inquiry method.
      Elliot appears in My Tourette’s, a 2018 documentary film directed by Alessandro Molatore, that showcases a purported study of the use of Rational Inquiry to treat Tourette’s Syndrome. The film is executive produced by Clare Bronfman who has bankrolled several NXIVM-related projects.
      The film identifies the Tourette’s study’s “lead researcher” as Brandon Porter. In 2019, the New York State Department of Health suspended Porter’s license to practice medicine in the state, finding that he conducted this and other studies without an appropriate human research review committee.
      In a response to claims about the Tourette’s Syndrome study, prosecutors from the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York wrote, “the participants in this ‘study’ have expressed significant distress at their involvement” and offered one victim impact statement from a study participant who said that the study “did nothing for me except ruin my self-esteem, ruin my mental health, and made me hate myself. It did not cure my Tourette’s in any way.”
      Over all Elliott has not done much in the publics eye to show who he is other than a follower of Keith Rainier.
      Filing a law Suit against Lions Gate sounds like a Keith Rainier idea.

      • Your Actions-

        I agree with you!

        What I’m objecting to is the documentarians twisting things, making it appear something that it was not.

        Twisting a story so it conforms to a narrative is wrong.

    • There’s a difference between calling someone a loser and a liar, and selectively editing footage to make it look like that person is reacting positively to statements condoning sexual violence.

    • You are telling Elliott a secret he knows nothing about. No one has ever told him to his face that he is a loser. Also, calling someone a loser is not an insult when there are obvious reasons to be of that opinion and to let someone know it. In any case, calling someone a “loser” is always an expression of opinion, which is not an insult per se. Also, “Everyone” with his “loser” comment is not insulting Elliott even though Elliott may pout about it.

  • It’s also about what a seasoned lawyer can do outside the courtroom to win cases for their clients, especially ones with deep pockets.

    One example of this was detailed by John Carreyrou and his book on Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. Their lawyer was David Boies who is a master of the legal universe (Al Gore’s lawyer in Bush v. Gore, Invalidation of California’s same sex marriage ban, Harvey Weinstein, to name a few matters). When Boies saw anything he interpreted as a threat to Theranos’ interests, he would sic private investigators on the adverse parties involved in a strategy that was part evidence collect and part physical and psychological harassment. If you were in the crosshairs, you could count on a car with two licensed private investigators (and probably retired cops) sitting outside your house eyeballing you for most of the day. When you went to work, they would follow. When your spouse went to pick up the kids at school, they’d be there. Running out to 7-eleven at 11:00pm to grab milk for the morning coffee, you knew who your company would be. And legally, Boies justified this “legally permissible activity” as the vigorous defense of Theranos’ trade secrets, which we all now know was half bullshit and the other half pure horseshit – a third grade level science project in sleekly designed casing. Boies’ strategy broke Theranos’ adversaires. And he has applied similar tactics on behalf of Harvey Weinstein, when a private Israeli Defense Contractor / Espionage Agency was brought in to gather intel on Harvey’s accusers and other perceived adversaires in the #MeToo crowd. (And the pure irony is that Boies was my graduation speaker at Columbia University in 2001, and he urged us to use our careers and our lives ahead of us to fight for the values of fairness and equality).

    I doubt this type of strategy has even occurred to a newbie, who still thinks the practice of law is about getting the formatting and citations in his briefs right. My money is on Jassy, and it’s not even going to be close

  • More importantly than the expertise of the lawyers is the case itself.

    It does not seem that Mark Elliott really has much of a case. And even if he is alleging that his reputation was damaged – really how much money was Mark Elliott making off his reputation?

    In order to sue for damages, you’ve got to show the damages. It must be proven what amount You “lost”.

    You can’t say that you lost $4 million from working if your job is at McDonald’s and you missed three months of shifts, you know?

    It’s really cynical to say that political donations will guide this judgement. That sounds like a vanguard illuminati statement.

    Marc could have “judge shopped” but always better to blame a loss in court on “the politics” lol.

    Hope the dead-enders enjoy Riverside, California. Have fun, Marc!

  • So Elliot is using the same law office as his Vanguard? Priceless.

    Raniere’s minion will lose his silly defamation suit. Likely it will be dismissed. Not because Elliot’s lawyer isn’t a real lawyer, not because the Democratic Party is corrupt (or so you claim) but because of the First Amendment.

    I’m in favor of the freedom of speech. It’s an invaluable protection of our Constitution and a fundamental Enlightenment right.

    In the US we are free to express our opinions. It’s a freedom many nations restrict, even progressive developed nations.

    Because we enjoy this essential freedom it is very difficult to prove defamation in US courts. That’s a good thing.

    Undoubtedly when Elliot’s silly lawsuit is dismissed Raniere’s minions will screech about how this “proves” the courts are corrupt.


    • “I don’t like Aristotle.”

      “Aristotle is a jerk.”

      “Aristotle smells funny.”

      That’s First Amendment protected free speech. To take footage of you, say, cheering your favorite team winning a game, and manipulating the footage to make it look like you’re cheering statements condoning sexual violence against children is the textbook definition of defamation.

      That’s what these people did, and they’re getting a pass that you know they shouldn’t get because they’re on “the right side” of things.

      This guy isn’t Keith, didn’t do the things Keith did, and has never been linked to any wrongdoing. He doesn’t deserve this, especially coming from a team of filmmakers who went out of their way to cover up the things that India was linked to.

  • They’ll be no Sunshine for Elliott. The deck is stacked, the outcome determined.

    Even if Marc had a strong case, which he does not, he wouldn’t stand a chance.

    Elliot is disillusioned as to how the world works- Hollywood in particular. A place where words mean little, ethics are sparse, pedophilia is rampant, and money rules.

    It’s time for Elliot to move on. Still waiting to learn if his cure for Tourette’s has any viability whatsoever. If it does, share it with those in need. Much better use of his time than trying to make money because he doesn’t like how he’s portrayed.

    It’s Hollywood. They are storytellers, not truth tellers. Naïveté is costly. Steep learning curve awaits Elliot.

  • “Elliot alleges that because of the proximity of his appearances to damaging statements about Raniere, Seduced portrays him badly.”

    You can pretty much turn that around – Elliot’s proximity to Raniere was something he himself initiated, and it is that which ultimately tarnished his reputation. “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are!”

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