By Village Diane
Basically, the hearing today was about motions and jury selection. Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis made it clear that if he does have to postpone the trial, he would not want to postpone it a month, but only for a week to 10 days.
The injury from delay is greatest to the one incarcerated – meaning Keith Raniere.
Judge Garaufis said he would not be willing to postpone the trial to the fall unless Keith – who is in pretrial detention – said he was willing to delay the trial. There is no indication at all that Keith is prepared to do that.
The government, on the other hand, did not seem opposed to a delay of the start of the trial – and said it is trying hard to meet its obligations to turn over discovery materials to the defendants. But it also said there are several technical issues regarding those discover materials.
There was a lot of discussion centered around whether the government can meet all its obligations before the trial starts if the currently scheduled start date is not moved.
Apparently, there are still some documents related to Nxivm that may or may not be privileged. Resolving that issue is going to take time – especially since, according to the prosecution, there are 20,000 of those unresolved documents.
The government said it wants to know if Nxivm is still operating. There was no official representative of Nxivm in the courtroom today to respond to the question.
The judge decided he is going to withhold jurors’ names throughout the trial – and even after the trial. They will be semi-sequestered in the sense that they will be cut off from all news about the trial until it is over.
The judge said anonymity is important where there might be some danger to the jurors. Although he doesn’t feel there is necessarily any danger to the jurors in this case, he doesn’t want them bothered by the media.
The #3500 materials [FBI reports of interviews] are due to be turned over to the defense by April 12.
Marc Agnifilo said he is calling an expert witness regarding the child pornography issues and evidence.
Keith appeared in a tan prison jumpsuit with a tan long-sleeve shirt underneath. He had his hair pulled back in a pony tail. I could not tell whether he was wearing makeup.
Allison appeared somber, more somber than I have seen her during her last few court appearances. She had her hair pulled back and some of her hair appeared darker blonde, as if her natural hair color is showing.
Kathy Russell appeared super thin. Her hair is thinning. She was wearing a black suit and her thinness combined with age – 60 plus – and thinning hair – perhaps natural to a woman her age – perhaps from the Raniere-diet – does not look good. She turned her head away when I tried to photograph her.
Clare was wearing light blue pants and a white shirt. Her hair hung down. She was with her celebrity attorney, Mark Geragos.
In the audience was a cadre of media and a number of spectators. Most noticeable were Toni Natalie and Catherine Oxenberg.
In short, the trial is still moving forward.
*** Additional notes from another observer:
Most importantly, the prosecution said that Allison Mack and Kathy Russell were engaged in very serious plea deal discussions and it appears their pleas are imminent.
They will not likely be going to trial – which means, at best, Raniere and Bronfman will stand trial.
Mark Geragos’ demeanor was very subdued and quiet. Does this mean he is also seeking a plea deal for his client, Clare?
The prosecution objected to the fact that Raniere has not turned over discovery and/or documents he is obliged to give to the government.
There will be some new government discovery turned over today or tomorrow. The government had some technical issues getting at it and turning it over.
The child porn and sexual exploitation of a minor charges were officially dismissed and moved over to the Northern District, where it appears they will be vigorously prosecuted.
Viva Executive Success!