By Marie White
In a filing on Wednesday, Clare Bronfman’s attorneys in Edmondson et al v. Keith Raniere et al., Craig M. Martin and Sara T. Horton of Wilkie Farr & Gallagher, have requested Judge Eric Komitee permit them to withdraw from the case.
The memo states: “The Court should grant the Motion because (i) Ms. Clare Bronfman assents to the withdrawal of Willkie Farr as her counsel; (ii) Ms. Clare Bronfman will still have adequate representation in this matter because Ronald S. Sullivan, whose formal appearance in this case was entered on July 13, 2020, will continue as Ms. Clare Bronfman’s counsel of record; and (iii) the procedural posture of this case mitigates any potential damage that could be caused by attorney withdrawal. Further, because Mr. Ronald Sullivan will continue to represent Ms. C. Bronfman in this matter, there should be no prejudice to Ms. Clare Bronfman or to the remaining parties if the Court grants Willkie Farr’s Motion.”
Ron Sullivan also represented Bronfman at her 2020 sentencing, where she got 81 months – exactly triple the federal sentencing guidelines. Sullivan represented her in her lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons. The heiress went from maximum security in Philadelphia to low security in Danbury, then back again to max security in Philadelphia as the BOP maneuvered around the prematurely settled litigation that Sullivan sought to reopen by moving her out of Danbury and back to Philadelphia where the process had to begin anew.
Sullivan has been the sole attorney to show up in person at the last two in-person hearings for Edmondson v. Raniere.
Martin’s withdrawal does not mean that Bronfman is relying on Sullivan alone.
As Martin and Horton withdraw, three new attorneys filed appearances in the case for Bronfman.
To fight on her behalf in the civil case, where some 70 former NXIVM members are suing her for harms they experienced while in NXIVM, she has tapped Manhattan attorney Arthur Aidala and two of his associates: Diana Fabi and Imran Ansari.
Aidala is well known for representing high-profile criminals. He was recently featured in the New York Times in an article entitled, The Nice-Guy Lawyer for America’s Tabloid Villains.
Aidala represents Harvey Weinstein and Ghislaine Maxwell on their appeals.
Weinstein and Bronfman also share the same premier crisis manager in New York, Juda Englemayer. No doubt the celebrated PR guru will have a lot to say, as the NXIVM civil case heats up.
While Wilkie Farr likes to shy away from PR, being a staid and more or less White Shoe law firm with well heeled and financially adroit clients, Arthur Aidala takes on all-comers and squares off. He has no fear of the media. Combined with Englemayer, there may be fireworks as they try to disgorge Bronfman from a lawsuit where her funding NXIVM is the central issue in common to the plaintiffs, most of whom did not know or barely knew her.
In any event, the change of lawyers represents a sea change in defense. Martin is the Chairman, Midwest for Wilkie and known as a leading national civil trial lawyer. His clients include major corporations and the nation’s most influential families. Aidala represents some of the most controversial, of which Clare Bronfman may be considered a platinum member.
Lastly, here is one of my paintings of Clare, with Keith Raniere, the man who might be given credit for her current position in life.