It’s hard to know where to begin with this latest convolution in the case of The U.S. v. Raniere Et Al…
But let’s give it a try.
Last night, I gave an overview of the most recent filing by the prosecution in this case.
The filing – which is labeled as “THE GOVERNMENT’S MEMORANDUM OF LAW REGARDING DEFENDANTS’ ASSERTIONS OF ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGES – contains the prosecution’s arguments as to why none of the materials that were seized from Nancy Salzman’s house are entitled to attorney/client privilege.
But it also contains a wealth of other information that underscores just how complex and widespread the NXIVM criminal enterprise had become before the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) prosecutors and FBI agents intervened and, hopefully, put an end to it.
Consider, for example, these revelations from that filing:
- Back in July 2015, a Mexican national named Marianna Fernandez (MF) [She is the longtime girlfriend and now baby mother of Raniere’s youngest son] engaged the services of Frontier Solutions, Inc. (Frontier) regarding her immigration status. Although the prosecution did not supply any identifying information regarding the company, our research indicates that it is based in Washington, DC and that its website is at www.frsdc.com/.
- Marianna Fernandez had supposedly entered the U.S. in December 2013 on a B-2 “Tourist Visa” but, according to U.S. Homeland Security records, had her visa canceled in January 2016 on suspicion that she intended to immigrate to the U.S.
- In response to the cancellation of Marianna Fernandez’s visa, one of Frontier’s attorneys – the now infamous Dennis Burke – wrote a letter on January 2, 2016 in which he claimed that Mariana Fernandez “…has no intent to remain unlawfully in the United States” and that her plan was to continue living in St. Luis Potosi, Mexico where she “…enjoys a large network of family and friends, including her mother and sister who live nearby”.
- Beginning in July 2015, Bronfman and Raniere worked with attorneys from Frontier to figure out some way to get Marianna Fernandez a legitimate visa. Among the options that they considered are the following: (1) Claiming she was an employee of Jness; (2) Claiming she was an employee of an unnamed investment company; (3) Claiming she wanted “…to reenter the USA to care for her closest friend, Pamela Cafritz” [who was dying of cancer] (4) Applying for an EB-5 visa – which requires the foreign national to invest at least $500,000 into an enterprise that will create at least ten jobs for Americans; (5) Having her marry an American; and; (6) Having her open an office in the U.S. for Sagitta LLC, a company that is owned by Marianna Fernandez’s father.
- Although none of these attempts to get a visa for Marianna Fernandez ever worked out, she apparently did manage to get back into the U.S. In fact, the prosecution claims in its latest filing that Marianna Fernandez has been living in the Albany, NY area “…for nearly a decade as part of the Nxivm community and as an intimate partner of Raniere” – and that in August 2017, she gave birth to Raniere’s child.
- In a curious and cryptically worded note, the prosecution also claims that “The relationship between Bronfman and Marianna Fernandez also appears to be personal in nature”.
- And last, but certainly not least, the prosecution notes that “In or around July 2018, after Raniere’s arrest, a trust was created named the ‘KAR 2018 Trust.’ Clare Bronfman is the sole donor of funds into the trust—approximately $500,000— and Marianna Fernandez is the sole recipient. The notation ‘family support’ appears on each of the disbursements of funds from the trust to M.F.”
So, let’s try to unpack this overflowing suitcase of new information – and see if we can figure out what the hell is going on here.
- It appears for certain that Raniere and Bronfman were doing everything they could think of to get a visa for Marianna Fernandez. Several of these things appear to involve violations of several immigration laws.
- In 2015, Marianna Fernandez hired Frontier to help with these efforts. Despite her being the client, it’s probably safe to assume that Frontier was actually paid by Bronfman.
- Frontier just happened to employ Dennis Burke as one of its attorneys. It also employed John R. Sandweg who previously served as the Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) and as the Acting General Counsel for Homeland Security.
- Either Raniere, Bronfman and Marianna Fernandez. lied to Burke and Sandweg about where Marianna Fernandez actually was living and what her immigration plans were – or Burke and Sandweg lied to the immigration authorities about those matters. Either way, someone’s in trouble.
- Burke, who once represented Marianna Fernandez is now representing Bronfman. Whether that represents a conflict-of-interest is an unanswered question.
- Marianna Fernandez had an intimate relationship with Raniere and gave birth to his child – who, by the way, is named “Kemar” – in August 2017.
- Marianna Fernandez may also have had an intimate relationship with Bronfman.
- After Raniere’s arrest – and just before her own arrest – Bronfman set up a $500,000 trust fund for Marianna and Kemar. Does this make Bronfman Kemar’s Fairy Godmother?
Clearly, Hollywood is going to have trouble convincing anyone that the feature film about NXIVM is based on a true story.
My question is: How the hell do these people all find one another?