[Editor’s Note: Although we know the name of the person in question in this post, we have chosen not to publish it because they are a potential witness in the case of U.S. v. Raniere Et Al. In general, that is the same policy that we have followed since charges were formally filed against the defendants in that case].
Despite their stated wish to get the trial of Keith Raniere and his NXIVM cohorts started as soon as possible, the lawyers representing the defendants in the case of U.S. v. Raniere Et Al are continuing to request extensions to their filing deadlines – and raising collateral issues that threaten the current “start date” of April 29, 2019.
The latest request for a 2-day extension came from one of the attorneys representing Clare Bronfman – and was immediately granted by Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon. But it also resulted in the judge setting a later deadline for the prosecution team to file its response.
Meanwhile, a new side-battle has broken out over a trove of documents and records that are supposedly the property of Clare Bronfman.
Unlike all the materials that were seized by the FBI from Nancy Salzman’s former residence, these new documents and records were being stored in a commercial storage unit in Clifton Park, NY.
And that’s where the fun begins…
The storage unit in question was rented by someone who worked for Clare Bronfman – and was at the time a Nxivm student. The rented unit was to be used to store documents and records regarding The Ethical Science Foundation(ESF), a charitable organization that Clare had established, and Wisdom Systems, LLC, another entity that she owned.
The problem is that the storage unit company would only rent units to individuals who could show some sort of government-issued identification – or to companies that submitted an appropriate Board Resolution regarding the rental unit.
So, the person who was tasked with renting the storage unit simply signed the rental agreement in her own name – and then placed all of Clare’s documents and records from the ESF and Wisdom Systems in the rented storage unit.
In April 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a Grand Jury subpoena to the person who had rented the storage unit. Per the terms of that subpoena, she was required to testify before the Grand Jury – and to bring with her “…any and all records related to Keith Raniere, Nxivm or any Nxivm-related entities, including any records located in…” the storage unit.
And, thus, began the current battle over the ESF and Wisdom Systems documents and records…
On the one hand, it’s easy to see why Clare thinks that she should have control over the contents of the storage unit: i.e., the documents and records belong to entities that she owns and/or controls.
On the other hand, it’s easy to see why the person who rented the storage unit thinks that she had to produce the materials in compliance with the Grand Jury subpoena – which is exactly what she did.
What’s hard to understand is why so many months went by with Clare’s attorneys not taking any action to gain control of the documents and records in the storage unit. Had they been more aggressive, it’s quite possible that they would have been able to gain possession of those materials – thereby making it impossible for the prosecution to have obtained them via the Grand Jury subpoena.
Now, Clare’s attorneys have requested that the presiding judge in the case, Nicholas G. Garaufis, suppress all that evidence – which would mean that none of it could be used at the upcoming trial.
It is expected that the prosecution will respond by arguing that the evidence was legally obtained – and should, therefore, be admissible as evidence at the trial.
How long it will take for Judge Garaufis to resolve this matter is unknown at this time – and there is always the possibility that the losing party will choose to appeal his decision.
All that we know for certain is that the days are ticking by – and that we’re now less than 10 weeks away from the trial’s currently scheduled “start date”.
This is probably not the last collateral issue that’s going to pop-up between now and the start of the trial.
But each such issue – and the time it takes to resolve it – make that April 29th “start date” less and less likely.
By the way, the attorney who represented Clare in the issue over the storage unit was none other than Dennis Burke, well known to readers of Frank Report for, among other things, his role in trying to help Mariana Fernandez get a visa illegally. It is not clear if Burke knew about the illegal elements of Mariana’s visa application.
The attorney representing the former Nxivm student who rented the storage unit is none other than Neil Glazer, who has been revealed in earlier court filings as the Philadelphia lawyer who represents numerous Nxivm victims in an expected civil suit against Nxivm parties.
Some of those victims are also expected to be witnesses in the upcoming Nxivm trial.