Assuming the case of the U.S. v. Raniere Et Al starts, as currently scheduled, on April 29th – and assuming that the prosecution is able to present its case in the 5-6 weeks it has been estimated that portion of the trial will take – we could be seeing the start of the defense portion of the case sometime in mid-June.
But, depending on what’s in the next superseding indictment, the start of the trial could easily get pushed back.
Such a delay is almost inevitable if the next superseding indictment contains any new defendants. (It most certainly will contain additional charges against one or more of the current defendants).
But at some point, the trial is going to get underway – and at some point, the defense will have the opportunity to call witnesses.
Let’s not forget from our “Primer” on federal trials that defendants do not have put on any case at all.
They can simply declare that the prosecution has not proven that the defendants committed any criminal acts “beyond a reasonable doubt” – and bypass this portion of the trial.
But given the mountain of evidence that the prosecution will likely present during its portion of the case – and given the show-dogs that are heading up the defense teams for Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman – it seems extremely unlikely that the defense will not present some type of case.
And so the question becomes: WHO WILL THE DEFENSE CALL AS WITNESSES?
Well, at a minimum, the defense will likely call one or more “expert witnesses” to offset the testimony of Dr. Michael Welner, a clinical and forensic psychiatrist who has been described as “…one of North America’s top practitioners of forensic psychiatry”.
So, let’s figure that the defense will call at least one or two “expert witnesses” to explain that NXIVM/ESP is just a training program that is intended to help human beings maximize their full potential – and that DOS is just an adult sex club that allows its members to explore different aspects of their sexuality.
So, once the “expert witnesses” have testified, who does the defense call next to the witness stand?
Will it be some members of DOS who will explain that they were just part of a group of “bad-ass bitches” who were trying to help empower women?
And if so, will some of those “bad-ass bitches” be testifying remotely from Mexico because they’re unwilling to testify in person out of fear that they will be arrested as soon as they set foot on U.S. soil?
And after the jury has heard from the “bad-ass bitches”, who will the defense call next?
Although none of the defendants are obligated to testify, will any of them do so anyway?
In an earlier post, I pointed out that many defense attorneys prefer that their clients not testify at trial out of concern that they will not hold up very well under the scrutiny of the jury – and the cross-examination of the prosecution.
As Mark Twain once said: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt”.
But since he is the self-proclaimed “smartest man in the world”, Keith Raniere is not bound by the norms that apply to those beneath him.
And what did Mark Twain ever accomplish anyway?
So, it seems inevitable that Raniere AKA The Vanguard AKA Federal Prisoner 57005-177 will take the witness stand – and attempt to explain away all the evidence that has been presented to suggest that he operated a multi-national crime syndicate that engaged in all sorts of crimes such as:
– Racketeering Conspiracy;
– Identity Theft;
– Altering Official Records;
– Encouraging and Inducing Illegal Entry;
– Encouraging and Inducing Money Laundering;
– Forced Labor;
– Sex Trafficking;
– Extortion; and
– Wire Fraud.
Given his prior accomplishments, that should actually be a pretty easy task for The Vanguard.
Lest we forget, this is a man who has extraordinary powers – and who has already accomplished phenomenal feats.
Even setting aside all of Raniere’s bullshit claims about his intelligence, athletic skills, and business accomplishments, you do have to give him credit for:
– Bilking Clare and Sara Bronfman of out millions upon millions of their inherited funds – and causing numerous men and women to go broke taking his training courses;
– Conning numerous women into having sex with an undersized, unwashed, unable-to-perform man with square feet – and being OK with the fact that they were just part of his harem and could never have sex with any other man ever again;
– Concocting a scheme that would, according to his lead attorney, Marc Agnifilo, convince 150 young women to have Raniere’s initials branded on their pussies;
– Convincing numerous women to abandon their children and husbands – and to devote themselves to his service;
– Getting trained medical professionals to abandon their professional oaths – and to perform illegal experiments and procedures that could cost them their licenses; and
– Getting parents to enroll their children in his unaccredited and totally uncredentialed Rainbow Cultural Garden program instead of normal schools.
So, there is little doubt that The Vanguard will take the stand.
The only question is whether he still wields enough influence over any of his co-defendants that they will do the same.
My estimates on that happening haven’t changed. They’re still:
– Allison Mack: 50%
– Clare Bronfman: 0%
– Nancy Salzman: 20%
– Lauren Salzman: 20%
– Kathy Russell: 0%
Just a quick note on when the trial might start if it is, in fact, postponed from its current start date of April 29th.
Given Judge Garaufis’ preferences (e.g., only 4 trial days per week; no trials during the summer; no trials during holiday periods; etc.), it seems that the next two possible dates for the start of the trial would be: September 3, 2019 and January 6, 2020.