Government tries to stop flurry of Nxivm motions made under seal

The flurry of motions continues. But which ones should the public be allowed to see?

The government has submitted a letter to address the Nxivm defendants’ recent sealing of certain pretrial motions filed on January 9 and 10, 2019.

Sealing documents means no one can review the files without receiving a court order. This prevents the public from seeing the motions abrogating their right to witness the full proceedings in a trial.

Recently, Clare Bronfman, Kathy Russell and Nancy Salzman made motions for severance [with  accompanying legal arguments or briefings] filed entirely under seal.

Conversely, Lauren Salzman’s motion for severance was not filed under seal.

Bronfman and Keith Raniere also made motions to suppress evidence.  A motion to suppress is a motion in criminal cases that requests a judge for an order that certain evidence be excluded from consideration by the judge or jury at trial.

Their motions to suppress were made under seal.

In addition, Keith Raniere made a motion for a Franks hearing – a court proceeding wherein the court is asked to determine if a law enforcement officer lied in obtaining a search warrant – also under seal.

Raniere took it even further.

In Raniere’s sealed memorandum of law in support of his motions, Raniere requested that the government’s response also be filed under seal.

The government has filed its opposition to this flurry of sealed motions, arguing that it is improper since the sealing of documents “may be justified only with specific, on-the-record findings that sealing is necessary to preserve higher values and only if the sealing order is narrowly tailored to achieve that aim.”

The government argues that the Nxivm defendant’s sealed filings are unnecessary since they could be partially redacted. The government writes, “Aside from the exhibits appended to the motion, a reference to certain individuals’ medical history and a few descriptions of collateral that have not been publicly disclosed, there appears to be no compelling reason to seal.”

The government requests that the judge order the motions unsealed or at least hold a hearing on the matter.

They point out that Kathy Russell showed how it could be done. Russell filed her memorandum of law in support of her motion to dismiss the Indictment against her with limited redactions.

Her recactions were to conceal direct quotes to the grand jury transcript after conferral with the government.  The government’s opposition to Russell’s motion  also has limited redactions to conceal grand jury testimony.



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Frank Parlato


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