Will Keith Alan Raniere take the stand in his own defense? Portrait by Marie White
News NXIVM

Trial of Keith Raniere – a Lot to Report

We have now had three days of trial.

So much was learned about Nxivm, DOS and Keith Alan Raniere that it will take several posts to catch up. Throughout today and this weekend, Frank Report will publish some surprises that I think you won’t find anywhere else.

Thus far, we had opening statements of both the prosecution and defense and one witness, Sylvie, who has been examined and cross-examined.  Sylvie began on day one of the trial and continued through most of the second day.

The prosecution’s second witness, Mark Vicente, spent the last hour of the second day of trial and all of the third being examined by the prosecution. He has not been cross-examined yet. I anticipate this will commence on Monday.

As for names, some witnesses are using first and last names, others are using only first names, by order of the court.

The names of some non-witnesses – who are mentioned in testimony – are also being referred to by first names only.  For instance, someone named India was mentioned in court.

Of course, all who follow Nxivm know who India is and, for that matter, almost everyone who was connected to Nxivm knows who Sylvie is.

The Frank Report, for the sake of preserving the good faith of the trial, and to help assist the victims of Raniere in this highly stressful time, will adopt the policy employed by the court of using only first names of women whose last names are being shielded by the court, through the duration of the trial.

There are a number of elements for each crime with which Raniere is charged. In order to convict, the prosecution has to prove Raniere is guilty of all the elements of each crime.  For most crimes – and for all of those which Raniere is charged – one of the elements is “intent” to commit the crime.

From the defense’s perspective, the trial seems likely to boil down to Marc Agnifilo, Raniere’s lead attorney, trying to establish reasonable doubt, through cross-examination, that Keith had criminal intent.

His actions were done “in good faith.” He was trying to empower women and had unconventional ways of doing it.

The burden of proof is on the prosecution and we do not know how many witnesses they plan to call. The witnesses for the prosecution, beginning with Sylvie and Mark Vicente, are called to establish, among other things, the elements of alleged crimes and that Raniere had criminal intent. He only fooled people that his intentions were good.

At the rate they are going, I would guess the prosecution will call 20-25 witnesses.  We do not know their names in advance and have to wait until they are called. There is a pool of 125 potential witnesses, based on discovery information made available to the defense.

The trial is expected to last six weeks. This suggests that it should end sometime in mid-June.

It might be longer, however, should the defense choose to put on a case. We will not know that until the prosecution rests its case.   At this point, we do not know if the defense will call any witnesses, including Raniere.  If Raniere chooses to take the stand, I would suspect he would be on the stand for at least a week.

There is no trial today.  I am informed that Judge Nicholas Garaufis normally does not hold trials on Fridays, but has said he might make an exception in this case.  This suggest there will be 20 – 25 days of trial.

Because there are Muslim jurors, I understand the judge decided there will be no court for the end of Ramadan which is June 3 and 4 this year. This falls on a Monday and Tuesday.

Village Dianne is helping to cover the trial for Frank Report and Artvoice [And for Tony Ortega, who, though famous for reporting on Scientology, has been recently covering the Nxivm case].

In the past, Village Dianne has used only her first name in reporting events in court on Nxivm. Since she is now acting as an official correspondent for Frank Report and Artvoice, she is using her full name.

She is Dianne Lipson.

Next, will come her report on events of the trial yesterday and more Mark Vicente’s testimony.

Stay tuned. We will have a lot of new information to report before court resumes on Monday.

About the author

Frank Parlato

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