MK10ART's splendid painting of Clare Bronfman and the 27 attorneys she has been paying.
News NXIVM

Bronfman & Raniere Are Both Scrambling – But In Somewhat Different Directions

Just one day after they found out that all three of three co-defendants are currently engaged in plea deal negotiations, Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman are scrambling to avoid going to prison for long periods of time.

But unlike in the past – when the two stood shoulder to shoulder in their battle against federal prosecutors – it looks like Keith and Clare are now headed in very different directions.

And what caused this apparent break-up of The Vanguard and Legatus?

Did Clare suddenly come to her senses – and realize that all Raniere ever cared about her was the balance in her bank account? Nope – she still hasn’t figured that out.

Did Clare finally realize that she had been lured into a life of crime by a psychopath who is bereft of any moral compass or normal human empathy? Nope – it wasn’t that either.

Did Clare interpret Nancy Salzman’s guilty plea as a sign that it was time for her to also consider taking a plea deal? Nope – she apparently still intends to go to trial to fight the pending charges against her.

So, what was it?

According to her new lead attorney, Mark Geragos, it’s because Raniere is now facing additional charges for possession of child pornography and sexual exploitation of a minor.

*****

In a new filing that he submitted after yesterday’s Status Conference, Geragos argues that Clare will face unfair prejudice if she’s forced to stand trial jointly with Raniere.

According to Geragos: “It is not simply the nature of the additional charges, but the specifics of the evidence that will be introduced to prove those charges, that necessitates severance. The alleged fact of a sexual relationship between a man in his late forties and a fifteen-year-old is alone likely to be so offensive to potential jurors and selected jurors as to deprive Ms. Bronfman of a fair trial”.

He went on to add: “These explicit and close-up photos—allegedly of a minor—suggest such a disregard of social norms and possibly the laws regarding sex with minors that it will be difficult for jurors to believe this did not carry over to other aspects of Mr. Raniere’s life; thus, this evidence will unfairly and inevitably infect the jurors’ perceptions of people like Ms. Bronfman, who were close to Raniere”.

Geragos went on to point out that some media outlets have already mistakenly indicated that Clare is facing sex-related charges. In particular, he quotes the following passage from Buzz Feed News, which prides itself on the exclusivity of its content: “Several women, including former Smallville star Allison Mack and Seagram liquor heir Clare Bronfman, allegedly helped run the operation and are awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.”

The prosecution is expected to oppose the pending motion to have Clare tried separately from Raniere. But given the nature of the new charges against Raniere, it is certainly not out of the question that the presiding judge in the case, Nicholas G. Garaufis, would grant her motion.

*****

Meanwhile, Raniere’s lead attorney, Marc Agnifilo, is arguing for a different kind of severance.

In his most recent filing, he has asked Judge Garaufis to sever Counts Three, Four, Five and Eleven – and Racketeering Acts Two, Three, and Four – from the second superseding indictment.

For those few Frank Report readers who have not yet memorized the second superseding indictment, here’s a summary of those counts and acts:

RE: Counts:
• Count Three: Sexual Exploitation Of A Child – Jane Doe 2.
• Count Four: Sexual Exploitation Of A Child – Jane Doe 2.
• Count Five: Possession Of Child Pornography.
• Count Eleven: Conspiracy To Commit Identity Theft Regarding Jane Doe 7

RE: Racketeering Acts:
• Racketeering Act Two: Sexual Exploitation Of A Child – Jane Doe 2.
• Racketeering Act Three: Sexual Exploitation Of A Child – Jane Doe 2.
• Racketeering Act Four: Possession Of Child Pornography.

Agnifilo makes two separate arguments as to why the cited counts and acts should be severed and tried separately from the remaining counts and acts.

Those two arguments are as follows:
• There isn’t enough time for him to prepare appropriate defenses against the new charges and acts – and still start the trial on April 29th; and
• The new acts and charges – as well as the original charge that is contained in Count 11 of the second superseding indictment – are all related to activities that allegedly occurred in the Northern District of New York (NDNY), which is where they should be tried.

According to Agnifilo, “(T)here is only one remedy: the brand new, four-day-old charges contained in Racketeering Acts Two, Three and Four, corresponding to Counts Three, Four and Five, must be severed from the instant indictment and must be addressed in the Northern District of New York, where the Government concedes they are venued”.

Agnifilo makes a similar argument with respect to Count Eleven in the second superseding indictment: “Therefore, as with Counts Three, Four and Five, this Court may, under Rule 5, conduct an initial appearance on Count Eleven. However, all other proceedings would have to, pursuant to Rule 5, be conducted only in the Northern District of New York, where the government alleges this crime took place”.

Once again, the prosecution is expected to oppose this motion to sever. But given the fact that the new charges were brought fewer than 50 days before the scheduled start of the trial – and given the jurisdictional issues regarding where the alleged crimes took place – it would not be all that surprising for Judge Garaufis to grant this motion.

*****

So, what’s the likely outcome of all this pre-trial wrangling by Geragos and Agnifilo?

While there is certainly no definitive answer to that question, here’s one very plausible outcome:

Judge Garaufis grants Agnifilo’s motion to sever the cited counts and acts – and allows those to be tried in the NDNY. And, having done that, he denies Geragos’ motion because all the counts and acts that he cites as being unfair to Clare are no longer part of the trial.

*****

If, in fact, the NDNY gets to take over responsibility for prosecuting the severed counts and acts, it might also start looking at some of the other criminal charges that could be brought against Raniere – and lots of other potential defendants – in that jurisdiction.

That is not good news for all those high-ranking NXIVM members – and all those local law enforcement officials – who figured they would never be called to task for their criminal acts.

And, as Paul Manafort recently found out, having cases in two jurisdictions can result in sentences that run consecutively rather than concurrently.

About the author

Artvoice

News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

11 Comments

Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply to Pyriel Cancel reply

  • Krclaviger,

    Thanks for taking the time to a explain a complex subject and for breaking it down to something us lay people can understand.

    Thanks!

    P.S.

    I just learned today that Raniere sent you a letter by proxy via a Mexican attorney sometime ago….. congratulations on pissing the Vanguard off with your fine writing skills and legal prowess. You deserve an honorable mention.

    Frank owes you at least a bottle of good wine or at the very least a six pack of beer for managing to piss off the mighty Vanguard.

  • The prosecutor and et al don’t want this case to slip out of their hands; they want this achievement for their resume. Keith and et al, is simply minimizing financial loss and suppressing other evidence that could lead to another circus in the future, not to mention the tactic is designed to deviate from the root of the problem to ensure NXVIM’s survival in the future. Nevertheless, Keith and et al will be sentenced accordingly.

  • Frank – you may already know about these NXIVM political donations but I found a website. I’m not too clued up on making links but I Googled NXIVM Little Sis.

  • I’m really getting tired of Claviger being ‘vague’ and ‘incomplete’ when explaining things to those of us who are not attorneys.

    I want to know how a trial would happen in the NDNY, should the judge grant that request.

    For instance, would the US Attorney for the NDNY (who has so far refused to bring charges against NXIVM) suddenly have full discretion to drop the charges or hand out sweeter plea deals with very little jail time?

    Or would the current EDNY attorneys (Penza, etc) be allowed to prosecute the case in a Northern District federal court —- similar to how local District Attorneys can travel to other counties to prosecute a case that’s been assigned to another jurisdiction (far away) due to prejudicial “pretrial publicity” in their home county?

    The NDNY attorneys are not yet familiar with this case and the tons of evidence, thus if they must prosecute this case (instead of the EDNY attorneys) then the trial would get delayed by 6 months or more, while they familiarize themselves with the tons of evidence and witnesses.

    Please tell us, sir.

    Also, I want to know how the ‘severance’ issue would work.

    For instance… If the other defendants get their trials severed from Keith’s trial —– would the judge still force them to stand trial with Keith on the non-sexual charges?

    (since many of the prosecution witnesses would be the same for all parties, thus having them testify in multiple trials for the same non-sexual charges would be wasteful and redundant)

    Or would the judge sever Keith from the other defendants on every charge, including the non-sexual charges?

    Kindly answer us, sir. If not, then eat a bowl of hot dicks! 🙂

    • Just to clarify…

      If the judge severs the defendants, would he still order them to stand trial with Keith on all non-sexual charges? …and then force Keith to stand trial alone for the child porn charges? Or not?

  • I’m really getting tired of Claviger being ‘vague’ and ‘incomplete’ when explaining things to those of us who are not attorneys.

    I want to know how a trial would happen in the NDNY, should the judge grant that request.

    For instance, would the US Attorney for the NDNY (who has so far refused to bring charges against NXIVM) suddenly have full discretion to drop the charges or hand out sweeter plea deals with very little jail time?

    Or would the current EDNY attorneys (Penza, etc) be allowed to prosecute the case in a Northern District federal court —- similar to how local District Attorneys can travel to other counties to prosecute a case that’s been assigned to another jurisdiction (far away) due to prejudicial “pretrial publicity” in their home county?

    The NDNY attorneys are not yet familiar with this case and the tons of evidence, thus if they must prosecute this case (instead of the EDNY attorneys) then the trial would get delayed by 6 months or more, while they familiarize themselves with the tons of evidence and witnesses.

    Please tell us, sir.

    Also, I want to know how the ‘severance’ issue would work.

    For instance… If the other defendants get their trials severed from Keith’s trial —- would the judge still force them to stand trial with Keith on the non-sexual charges?

    (since many of the prosecution witnesses would be the same for all parties, thus having them testify in multiple trials for the same non-sexual charges would be wasteful and redundant)

    Or would the judge sever Keith from the other defendants on every charge, including the non-sexual charges?

    Kindly answer us, sir. If not, then eat a bowl of hot dicks! 🙂

    • The judge probably has discretion regarding these issues, including weighing a variety of factors. Law is not a science, that’s why they call it “practice.” Asking Claviger (who practices law) to read the judge’s mind (who practices law) is not only unfair, it’s scary!

%d bloggers like this: