Even Clare Bronfman has standards…
While she’s OK being tried with someone who, like herself, has been charged with Racketeering, Racketeering Conspiracy, Identity Theft, and Immigration Offenses, she does not want to be tried with anyone who is facing any sex-related charges.
But she’s OK with being tried together with Kathy Russell.
Frank Report readers may remember that Clare filed a similar motion after the first superseding indictment. Judge Garaufis has not yet ruled on that motion.
But with the unveiling last week of the second superseding indictment, Clare’s new lead attorney, Mark Geragos, is pushing even harder to get her tried separately from Keith, Allison, and Lauren.
Although some of Clare’s concerns may be alleviated if, as expected, Allison, Lauren, and Kathy take plea deals rather than go to trial, she would undoubtedly raise all the same objections if the only remaining defendants are her and Keith.
As Geragos points out in the new Memorandum-of-Law, the second superseding indictment “…deepens the divide between the Defendants who are charged with extraordinarily inflammatory offenses and those, like Bronfman, who are (sic) not”.
Geragos pulls no punches in explaining why it would be unfair – and “a miscarriage of justice” – if Judge Garaufis forces Clare to be tried with Raniere.
“The primary difference from the prior indictment is that Raniere is also charged with sexually exploiting a child and possessing child pornography, potentially exposing him to a mandatory minimum sentence of thirty years’ imprisonment…These charges relate to Raniere’s alleged sexual relationship with a fifteen-year-old girl when he was in his late forties.
“Inevitably, the government will present the alleged child pornography to the jury. And inevitably, the government will seek to introduce the purported evidence it has described at length concerning Raniere’s alleged history of ‘sexual assault and other abuse of girls and women’, including a twelve-year-old with whom he allegedly had ‘regular sexual intercourse’ under the guise of tutoring her”.
Geragos then cites a series of cases in which the potential introduction of evidence of child pornography led the court to sever those charges from the other pending charges.
And he points out that several media outlets have mistakenly reported that Clare is also facing sex-related charges:
“[A]rticle after article focuses on the new alleged child pornography charges and link[s] Ms. Bronfman to sex crimes that she is not alleged to have anything to do with. For instance, one article inaccurately reports: ‘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’. See https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/briannasacks/nxivm-groupfounder-child-porn-charges.”
“In this blatantly inaccurate reporting, Ms. Bronfman has been falsely accused of having actual knowledge of alleged relationships between Raniere and underage girls. See, e.g., https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/03/14/keith-raniere-nxivm-founder-child-porn-charge-alleged-cult-case/3165006002 . . . [‘The prosecutors also said they have dated images of the victim that were created and possessed by Raniere and evidence showing his co-defendants, including actress Allison Mack and Seagram’s liquor fortune heiress Clare Bronfman, knew of two relationships he had with underage girls.’]…”
Although we have not yet seen the prosecution’s response to this latest motion – it’s due to be filed later today – it appears that Geragos has raised some very significant issues.
And from Judge Garaufis’ standpoint, why take the risk of having the results of a trial overturned because he mandated that Clare stand trial with a man who has, in fact, been charged with some truly heinous crimes?
So, does that mean that Clare will get a separate trial from Keith?
As previously noted, Judge Garaufis could grant Keith’s pending motion to sever the charges involving sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography from the current case – and have those charges tried in the Northern District of New York (NDNY).
Doing that would address most of the objections that Geragos has raised in his latest filings – and would allow the trial to start, as presently scheduled, on April 29th or shortly thereafter (The only unresolved objection would be that Keith would still be facing one count for sex trafficking).
Assuming the plea deals for Allison, Lauren and Kathy get done – and assuming that Judge Garaufis severs the child sexual exploitation and child pornography charges from the current case – then the trial of Keith and Clare would likely run only 4-6 weeks.
That would allow him to push the pending trial back a couple of weeks – and still not force the jury to be hearing a case throughout the summer months.
One other side-benefit of severing the child sexual exploitation and child pornography charges is that it would give the Northern District of New York a chance to make up for its 20-years of negligence with respect to Raniere and NXIVM/ESP.
And once a grand jury in Albany starts hearing evidence about the child sexual exploitation and child pornography charges, it’s also possible that the NDNY might put on its “big boy pants” and seek indictments against some of the other people in that area who participated in – and/or who aided and abetted – the NXIVM/ESP criminal enterprise.
And wouldn’t that be just wonderful?