This past week was filled with several major developments regarding the case of the U.S. v. Raniere – and set the stage for the ultimate demise of Keith Raniere and his remaining co-defendants in that case.
As we look forward to Monday’s Status Conference – and another update on Keith’s status at the Metropolitan Detention Center, which we hope to have in the next few days – let’s take a moment to look back at what happened this week and what it portends for the future.
RE: Barbara Bouchey
The week started out with news that Barbara Bouchey would be writing a series of stories about NXIVM/ESP – and sharing her inside knowledge about what went on during the 9-years that she was part of the cult and what’s happened during the 10 years since she left and became one of Keith Raniere’s favorite human punching bags.
In the first of her stories, Barbara explained why she stayed with Raniere after she found out he was sleeping with other women. According to Barbara, that occurred about a year after she first met Raniere – and was already in an intimate relationship with him.
Given that she was one of the highest ranking members of NXIVM/ESP at the time that she quit – and given her intimate relationship with Raniere – many Frank Report readers were expecting her to provide detailed information about the cult’s nefarious activities. But according to Barbara, Raniere and the other members of this inner circle kept her totally “walled off” from any information about those type of activities.
In addition to posting her own stories, Barbara has also been diligently responding to questions from various Frank Report readers. Thus far, readers have mostly responded positively to her willingness to answer their questions – and seem to be looking forward to having her continue to do so.
RE: Nancy Salzman
On Wednesday, Nancy Salzman appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis – and pleaded guilty to one count of Racketeering Conspiracy – and two related criminal acts: i.e., conspiracy to commit identity theft and conspiracy to alter records used in an official proceeding.
The announcement – which her attorneys did not share in advance with the attorneys representing Raniere, Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Kathy Russell, and Nancy’s daughter, Lauren – sent shock waves through the NXIVM/ESP community.
Not only did Nancy plead guilty to all the criminal acts with which she had been charged, she also did so without any sort of “plea deal” in place.
As a result, Nancy’s fate is entirely in the hands of Judge Garaufis – who reminded her on several occasions before he accepted her guilty plea that he would have absolute discretion in setting her sentence.
So, although the Federal Sentencing Guidelines call for a prison term of 33-41 months for Nancy, the reality is she could end up serving anywhere from 0 months to 240 months (Neither of those extreme is expected to be her sentence).
Most courtroom observers have assumed that Nancy will become a key witness for the prosecution. But one attorney who is intimately familiar with all the details of the case has opined that the prosecution will probably not even call her as a witness.
It’s also possible that Nancy – as well as her former co-defendants and many other people who were associated with NXIVM/ESP – could be facing a bevy of state-level charges. Although no New York State official – including the Governor, Andrew Cuomo – has ever shown any inclination to bring any charges against anyone associated with the cult, it should be noted that the new Attorney General, Letitia James, could make quite a name for herself by bringing criminal charges against high-ranking members of the cult and the slew of public officials that allowed the cult to operate with impunity for almost 20-years.
While none of her co-defendants were in the courtroom when Nancy pleaded guilty, it seems reasonable to assume that they have now all heard about the event.
And they probably have also heard about this exchange between Judge Garaufis and Nancy’s lead attorney, David Stern:
THE COURT: Are you aware of any viable legal defense to the charge (of Racketeering Conspiracy against your client)?
MR. STERN: I think we’ve thought this case through and discussed it amongst ourselves and I think on balance we’ve decided there is not a viable legal defense.
Just stop and think about that…
Nancy’s attorneys could not figure out any way to defend her against the charge of Racketeering Conspiracy – and the underlying predicate acts.
Now, think how you would feel if you were Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Clare Bronfman, Kathy Russell or Lauren Salzman – all of whom are facing that same charge as well as many other charges.
“…we’ve decided there is not a viable legal defense”.
RE: Second Superseding Indictment
The very next day, the other shoe dropped for all of Nancy’s former co-defendants when the lead prosecutor, Moira Kim Penza, unveiled the second superseding indictment in the case.
As Nancy headed off to spend a couple of days with her elderly parents to explain to them why she is now a felon and likely headed to prison, Raniere and several of the others found out that they are now facing new charges.
For Raniere, the second superseding indictment brought a wave of very bad news. That’s because he’s now facing four new charges in addition to all the old ones:
– One count of Racketeering – and several new predicate acts;
– Two counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Child; and
– One count of Possession of Child Pornography.
For Mack, the second superseding indictment added one new count of Racketeering – but dropped her name from several predicate acts.
For Bronfman, the second superseding indictment added one new count of Racketeering – bur dropped one predicate act.
For Lauren, the second superseding indictment added one new count of Racketeering – and added one new predicate act.
For Russell, the second superseding indictment left her with just one count of Racketeering Conspiracy – and dropped her from any mention in all of the predicate acts.
So, all in all, not a very good week for Keith Raniere AKA Federal Prisoner 57005-177.
We did, however, find out that in addition to being revered as “The Vanguard”, Raniere also likes to be called “Grandmaster” and “Master”.
I’m sure the other prisoners at the Metropolitan Detention Center will be impressed as hell by that news.