As always, take everything with a grain of salt.
A source contacted Frank Report with information about a recent possible “flip” in the Raniere case. This source is known to me as a highly reliable individual, who has provided me in the past with key information in the NXIVM matter. I cannot reveal the source, but can say this individual is a public figure and the source of information emanates from Washington DC.
I must again clarify that none of my sources are from the DOJ in the Eastern District of NY [and to reiterate for the benefit of Keith Raniere’s attorneys – I have never spoken to anyone at the EDNY – either at the US Attorneys Office or the FBI – or anywhere else – except for the Public Affairs officer – briefly – on matters concerning information available to all media.]
My source is not a lawyer representing any defendants, victims or witnesses.
Here is what my source told me:
“There is a ‘high value’ figure – high profile [in NXIVM], a key figure – who has flipped. This is the understanding of the case at Main Justice. The prosecution now feels it has the ‘whole case nailed’ with this particular witness cooperating. The emphasis is this is a ‘high value’ person.”
This is seen as a “major development”. The time frame is “the past week or two”. Someone “has flipped and is cooperating with the prosecution now.”
Main Justice considers this “a major shift in the way the prosecution is dealing with the NXIVM case – because they have an extremely high value personality who is cooperating now. It is reported that everyone is ‘quite effected’ by it. At Main Justice, the word is they feel they have the whole case ‘nailed shut.’ That’s the language that was used.”
Who is it? My source could or would not say. My source said, “the report yesterday was the timeline for the new cooperation happened in the past week or two.”
The source said, “Here is my speculation: The Arizona attorney who represents Lauren Salzman did not just withdraw from representing her in the criminal case, he left the law firm. To me this is a hint of which family is cooperating.”
Attorney James Burke, up until recently, represented Lauren Salzman. He requested from the court that he be given permission to withdraw from representing her within the last two weeks and Judge Nicholas Garaufis approved his withdrawal last week.
The reason given the court for his withdrawal is that James Burke left Quarles and Brady, the Arizona law firm representing Lauren Salzman.
My source said, “If Lauren is cooperating, that would throw off Dennis Burke [a friend and partner of Emiliano Salinas, and one of the lawyers who represents Clare Bronfman]. He would pull any conflicted parties out of the criminal case. James Burke is not related to Dennis Burke, but he worked for Dennis at the US Attorney’s office in Phoenix, as an assistant US Attorney when Dennis was US Attorney. He was well known as one of Dennis’ guys.”
On Quarles and Brady’s website – on James Burke’s page – it was noted, “Mr. [James] Burke is a former Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Arizona, serving as lead counsel in numerous criminal investigations and jury trials.”
When I went to the page today, https://www.quarles.com/james-l-burke/, I found the page is shut down.
Fortunately, Frank Report made a copy of the page earlier: It read, “During his 12 year tenure at the United States Attorney’s office, Mr. [James] Burke worked in the Organized Crime and Gangs and White Collar Crime Sections. In these roles, he oversaw and prosecuted cases related to organized crime, drug syndicates, financial crimes, securities fraud, and intellectual property crimes. Prior to that, Mr. Burke was a county prosecutor in Seattle, Washington where he tried over 100 jury cases taken to verdict. Mr. Burke has also appeared before the Ninth Circuit on numerous occasions.”
James Burke is obviously a very experienced criminal lawyer with a great deal of experience in federal practice as both a defense attorney and a prosecutor. It may be true that he left the firm because of a conflict of interest – in that the firm representing Lauren no longer is cooperating with the Bronfman-Salinas interests. However that may not be the reason. There may have been another reason James Burke left Quarles and Brady recently. Either way, Lauren lost an important, and one of the most experienced federal criminal trial lawyers available. Does this mean she is not going to trial?
It always seemed strange to me that Lauren retained Arizona attorneys for a New York City trial and strange that Clare Bronfman’s lead attorney [behind the scenes] is also from Arizona – and deeply connected to the Salinas family.
My source added, “James Burke is tied to Dennis Burke and it makes sense that the Salinas people would have the ‘underling’ in there working with Lauren Salzman. It also makes sense, if Lauren and Nancy are the ones who flipped, that Dennis Burke would remove James Burke from the law firm to avoid any potential conflict. In federal cases, conflict is a big deal, and could throw off the joint defense agreement of other defendants. Clare and Salinas are trying to control all the defendants by paying their legal fees. If there were a conflict with one of the firms, with one cooperating – they would pull the guy out of that law firm. Based on this, I am assuming Lauren is cooperating. I cannot say it is Nancy and Lauren Salzman…. But I know this directly from [redacted] there is a major figure cooperating in the NXIVM case.”
At the September 13 court hearing, it was reported that Nancy Salzman’s attorneys were in discussions with the government about Nancy taking a plea deal. After the hearing, a source at the Metropolitan Detention Center [where Keith Raniere is being held without bail] told Frank Report that Raniere went to his cell and openly wept.
A source in the Albany area told Frank Report that Nancy’s recent operation, a radical mastectomy – was a success. There was no cancer in the margins. [A radical mastectomy involves removing the breast, underlying chest muscle, and lymph nodes of the axilla as a treatment for breast cancer.] Evidently she is not having chemotherapy and next month will have reconstructive surgery, the source said.
Nancy was excused from her last two court appearances. She was excused at the last one – on October 4 – because her lawyer told the court she had recent surgery and medications she was taking made her nauseous and weak.
Whether Nancy and/or Lauren, or someone else – perhaps Karen Unterreiner, or someone else – or all of them, or other witnesses with high value – are cooperating – is something time alone will tell.
But if this report is true – Keith Raniere has plenty of reason to sob. Over time he made many women sob. Now – and I vaguely recall there may have been a song to this effect — it’s Vanguard’s turn to cry.
Our last known photograph of Keith Raniere, taken on March 25, 2018, while sitting inside a Mexican police vehicle, which was to chauffeur him from his luxury villa in Puerto Vallarta Mexico to a less luxurious prison cell. The lad looks like he might be crying or on the verge of crying. Some might call that “poetic justice.”