NXIVM cult leaders Keith Raniere and Allison Mack are scheduled to go to trial for sex trafficking and forced labor charges in March 2019, RadarOnline.com can exclusively report.
Tensions ran high during Thursday afternoon’s status hearing in New York's Brooklyn Federal Court. Defendants Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Clare Bronfman, Lauren Salzman and Kathy Russell attended the hearing, but the sixth defendant, Nancy Salzman, was excused from court due to a recent surgery.
Raniere, who remains in jail without bail, entered the courtroom was a smirk on his face as if he was happy to be there, Radar can report.
Mack, who is living with her parents in California and going to school as she waits for the trial, also appeared to be in good spirits, laughing with her lawyers before the hearing began.
The hearing began with U.S. attorneys communicating to the judge that they have been working “effectively” with the defendants’ attorneys. On Thursday, October 4, the government informed the judge that all attorneys have agreed upon a trial to begin in March 2019.
Judge Garaufis became furious at the news of the trial date because the defendants’ attorneys have claimed for months that they wanted a trial sooner rather than later.
The judge ripped into Raniere’s lawyer Marc Agnifilo specifically for remaining “silent” at the last hearing when he asked their thoughts about a timeline.
The judge said he was appalled that he received “stony silence” from the NXIVM attorneys at the last month’s hearing, and referred to it as “totally unacceptable.”
“Someone please explain to me! The point is we went from one extreme to another. You all are trained on how to talk to judges. You just left me in silence. Don’t you ever dare do that again, ever!" Garaufis screamed. "If you want to have a relationship of trust and professionalism you have to be prepared to meet me halfway. I’ve done this 18 and a half years. No one has ever done this to me before. I’m not playing games with people. I left this courtroom having been basically ignored. When I ask you a question and you sit there and you don’t even answer my question it is unacceptable.”
Raniere’s lawyer Agnifilo struggled to get a word in, saying, “We would never ignore your honor,” adding that all of the defendants’ attorneys “took the last court hearing very seriously.”
The judge conducted the rest of the hearing by referring to it as “third grade," and asking every NXIVM attorney the same question to make sure they were all on the same page.
The next status hearing is scheduled for December 6.
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