As was suggested in an earlier post today, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis has postponed the start of the trial in the case of the U.S. v. Raniere Et Al by one week rather than the two weeks that the government had requested.
The trial will now start on Tuesday, May 7th.
The attorneys for Keith Raniere filed a letter in opposition to the prosecution’s request; Clare Bronfman’s attorneys consented to a 1-week delay; and Kathy Russell’s attorneys did not object to it.
Some courtroom observers and criminal defense attorneys interpreted the filings by Raniere and Bronfman as an indication that they are not interested in pursuing any sort of plea deal.
Others thought it was simply an indication that their attorneys wanted to put the prosecution in the position of having to go to trial sooner than it prefers – which might give Raniere and Bronfman more leverage in any plea deal negotiations.
At this point, I’ll stand by my earlier predictions as to who will end up taking a plea deal:
• Kathy Russell: 99%
• Clare Bronfman: 60%
• Keith Raniere: 10%
Judge Garaufis also set the following dates for the remainder of the pre-trial activities (These dates can only be adjusted if the requesting party can show “good cause” for doing so):
• The parties must seek review of Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon’s privilege rulings by no later than April 17th;
• Motions in limine are due by no later than April 19th, with responses due by no later than April 26th (These are motions by which one party will try to limit the evidence that can be introduced by the other party during the trial);
• The jury selection process will begin on April 22nd (The 12 jurors will be selected from the pool of 500 potential jurors that filled-out jury questionnaires earlier this week); and
• The government and defense trial exhibits are due by no later than April 30th.
Judge Garaufis is expected to issue a ruling tomorrow on Kathy Russell’s pending Motion To Dismiss. As previously noted, my expectation is that he will deny that motion.
Judge Garaufis is also expected to issue rulings in the next few days on several other pending motions – including the ones that have been filed by Bronfman and Russell to sever their trials from Raniere’s (There is zero chance of those motions being granted).
Once the judge has issued his rulings, the pressure will increase on both sides to get a plea deal done for Kathy Russell.
At the end of the day, the prosecution really has no interest in locking her up for an extended period of time – and she’ll simply be a distraction in its showdown with Raniere and Bronfman.
The only thing that could prevent a plea deal for Kathy is her stubborn refusal to be disloyal to Raniere in any way, shape or form.
Hopefully, for her sake, her attorneys will be able to prevent her from making the same kind of stupid decisions that resulted in her getting involved in NXIVM in the first place (They did on their above-referenced letter that they were still in plea deal discussions with the prosecution).
At long last, the final chapter of the takedown of Raniere and his evil empire is about to begin…
It’s about time!