Liquor fortune heiress collapses after judge in sex-slave case asks her about Michael Avenatti and Mark Geragos
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CBS News
Posted: April 6th, 2019
An already bizarre case accusing a secretive self-help group in upstate New York of engaging in sex-trafficking took another strange turn Wednesday thanks to firebrand attorney Michael Avenatti and a courtroom scene caused by a wealthy defendant he's tried to represent. At a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, prosecutors confirmed that Avenatti appeared on behalf of liquor fortune heiress Clare Bronfman at a closed-door meeting last week that also included Mark Geragos, another high-profile lawyer representing Bronfman. Bronfman ... has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing her of bank-rolling NXIVM, an alleged cult-like organization accused of brainwashing and branding women who served as sex slaves for its spiritual leader. When U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis asked Geragos whether he and Avenatti, the lawyer best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels, had told prosecutors Avenatti was being brought into the case, he responded, "That's exactly what happened." Under stern questioning by the judge about which lawyers are actually representing Clare Bronfman and whether she knew if Geragos was involved in a criminal case revealed this week against Avenatti, she turned pale, staggered away from the bench and collapsed into a chair. An ambulance was called, but she later left the courthouse on the arm of Geragos. The development came only two days after Avenatti was arrested on charges accusing him of trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike.