Michael Avenatti and Seagram heiress of the county of Clare Bronfman
Seagram heiress of the county of Clare Bronfman collapsed in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday, shortly after the judge in her extortion conspiracy case asked whether they would secretly kept troubled lawyer Michael Avenatti in an attempt to negotiate a deal with the prosecutors.
Bronfman was charged in July in connection with the activities of NXIVM, a self-proclaimed self-help organization, which authorities say operated as a violent cult where selected female “slaves” were forced to have sex with a leader, Keith Raniere, and were branded with his initials.
Bronfman is represented by attorney Mark Geragos, who was identified by The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press this week as an unindicted co-conspirator in what federal prosecutors say was a scheme by Avenatti to extort millions from sportswear giant Nike.
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Under questioning by U. S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, Geragos admitted that he and Avenatti had had with officers of justice in the Bronfman processing. New York Post reporter Emily Saul tweeted that Avenatti has not entered a message that he will appear in court on Bronfman in command, but Geragos has. She tweeted that Geragos told Judge Garaufis that he did not know if Avenatti referred to appear before the court in the Bronfman case “, because of the other case.”
It was not clear whether Geragos was referring to the Nike extortion case or a separate case in which Avenatti will be charged by the federal prosecutors in California, with wire fraud and fraud.
A few moments later, Bronfman collapsed and was evaluated by medics. She left the courtroom with the help of Geragos.
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The drama plays out as part of a so-called Curcio hearing to assess whether Geragos can adequately represent Bronfman in the face of a potential conflict of interest. The hearing is scheduled on Thursday to resume.
Avenatti was not in the courtroom Wednesday and did not respond to Fox News to ask questions about the issue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.