Joe O'Hara
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Joe O’Hara: Thoughts From The Courtroom

By Joe O’Hara

I hadn’t seen Keith Raniere since December 2004.

But I had definitely thought about him… a lot.

Keith Raniere

That’s pretty understandable considering just how much impact he’s had on my life.

But, as I entered Courtroom 4-D South last Wednesday morning, I didn’t have any particular feelings about seeing him again.

I hadn’t planned to attend any portion of his trial. Last minute circumstances led to me being there last Wednesday.

Unlike the various people who have decided they absolutely need to be there to hear every detail of the testimony – and/or to tell their story to the media during the breaks – I was content to wait for what I think is the inevitable “Guilty” verdict.

But, then again, I don’t have a book or a movie or a podcast to sell.

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I happened to arrive just after a technical glitch in the court’s internal document display system had forced a brief break in the proceedings.

Unlike the old days when hard copies of documents were handed to witnesses, now the attorney who is asking questions simply places a document on a machine that projects it to various screens throughout the courtroom.

The witness views the document on a screen as does the judge and each of the jurors. There are also several screens set up for those who are attending the trial. Much, much better than the old days!

Shortly after I arrived and settled into a seat in the visitor’s row, court was called back into order.

The next thing I observed was Raniere being brought into the courtroom by two U.S. Marshals.

At first, I thought that both of the U.S. Marshals were really large men.

Then, I realized it was just that Keith was so small.

He no longer looks like a Vanguard.

More like a Vanguette.

He really is a little man in so many ways.

The handsome Vanguard on a rare walk alone in Clifton Park. He used to bounce with the “joy” that he had taken from others.

Yet, he also totally altered my life – and not in positive ways.

All in all, I really would have preferred to be run over by a Dwayne Johnson type.

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At first, I found myself paying more attention to Raniere than to the testimony of the witness, Daniela.

And as the Frank Report has already noted, he was in almost non-stop motion. Kind of like a squirrel eating birdseed from a feeder. Always looking around. Always in motion.

I always thought Raniere was very nerdy looking.  But that look has become a lot more pronounced since the last time I saw him.

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All in all, Dani’s testimony was pretty boring while I was there (I’ve been told that the last hour or so on Wednesday was much more riveting).  That’s because she was basically being asked to read a series of emails between her and Raniere.  Not exactly exciting stuff.

But despite the boring nature of the testimony, Raniere was busily scribbling away notes with his little #2 lead pencil – and passing them along to Marc Agnifilo who could not have seemed less interested in them.

MK10ART’s portrait of Marc Agnifilo

And when he wasn’t writing notes to Agnifilo, Raniere was squinting at Dani on the witness stand (There must be something wrong with his glasses because he’s clearly having trouble with them).

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I thought that Dani was an incredibly composed witness.  Despite the boring nature of her testimony, she was very clear and direct in her responses to the questions from Assistant US Attorney Moira Kim Penza.

I definitely got the impression that Dani was 100% clean of the Raniere Kool-Aid.  Which makes her the first and only person who knew and followed Raniere that I can say that about.  It was incredibly encouraging to see that someone can get clean of Raniere. Hopefully, more will do so in the future.

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I also attended part of the trial on Thursday.

And while Dani was not as composed and strong during the initial part of her cross-examination by Agnifilo, I heard she was much stronger on Friday.  Based on my observations, Agnifilo does not seem to have his heart in this case.

Which, given Raniere’s predilections and actions, is entirely understandable.

My guess is that Hannibal Lecter’s attorney was also not truly committed to getting his client acquitted.

I also think that, upon his conviction, Raniere will claim that Agnifilo provided “ineffective assistance of counsel”. In my experience, Raniere always blames someone else for his failings.

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One funny thing that struck me over the course of the two days I was in attendance at the trial is just how frustrating this whole thing has got to be for Raniere.  Virtually every woman who’s involved in this trial is his “type”: i.e., thin with long hair.

Moira Kim Penza? Check!

Moira Penza

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Tanya Hajjar? Check!

Tanya Hajjar

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Teny Geragos? Check!

Teny Geragos represents Keith Raniere.

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Danielle R. Smith? Check!

Danielle Smith

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In my opinion, there is no chance that Raniere will be acquitted. And there is little chance that he’ll be able to convince even one juror to hold out and vote to acquit him, thus hanging the jury and like forcing a retrial.

The simple reality is that Raniere is guilty of many more crimes than he’s been charged with in this trial.

The most likely outcome is that he’ll be convicted on all counts – and die in prison.

I’m not sure if that will be via old age, homicide, or suicide, but I do know that Raniere is not the kind of guy who will do well in prison.  He’s charged with crimes that are not well accepted among most prisoners.  And he’s an asshole who has no ability to connect with other guys.  That’s a bad combination in prison.

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Several people have suggested that Raniere made a tactical error in going to trial. But I actually think it was the logical thing to do.  The best plea deal Raniere was going to get would likely have required him to serve a 20-year sentence.

And the one thing that Raniere knows after spending the last 15 months at the Metropolitan Detention Center is that he will likely not survive five years in prison, let alone 20 years.  So, his decision to go to trial makes perfect sense to me.

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My goal now in life is to live long enough to piss on Raniere’s grave.

Not that I have any bad feelings towards him…


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Frank Parlato

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  • For any other molesters out there, does anyone remember the “LA Law” episode where a BDSM addict was cross examined by Susan Days character and had a meltdown on the stand? I imagine the same should Vantard ever take the stand.

  • Joe- I am pretty sure the words from Hell in A Bucket by the Grateful Dead will come true for you as it pertains to KAR – “There may come a day when I’ll dance on your grave Unable to dance I’ll still crawl across it Unable to dance I’ll still crawl…” And a good old piss and middle finger.

    One of our KW neighbors has posted in comments that “It just gets worse” (hearing what KAR was/is actually capable of). It sure did. A bunch of neighbors were talking yesterday and we all feel horrible that Dani was in some cases doors away and we were unaware what was going on.

    Although none of us have seen Nicky Clyne and these alleged NXIVM devotees she is allegedly palling around with in Halfmoon/Clifton Park., there are reports of a vehicle in and out of #3 Flintlock intermittently. KW Bunker and Ally Mack’s old neighbor have both seen it.

    Friday’s PM testimony has been scant but this was interesting out of the Albany Times Union 6/1/2019 and shows just how vile and disgusting Pam Cafritz was:

    https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Raniere-lawyer-tries-to-undercut-witness-13911013.php

    Just a reminder that court will not be in session until Wednesday in observance of Ramadan (also from the above article)

    • One of my favorite groups – and, of course, I know that song. Here’s the full stanza you’re quoting from:

      You analyze me, tend to despise me
      You laugh when I stumble and fall
      There may come a say when I’ll dance on your grave
      Unable to dance I’ll still crawl across it
      Unable to dance I’ll still crawl
      Unable to dance I’ll still crawl
      Unable to dance I’ll crawl.

    • My lawsuit was abandoned by the Trustee in my bankruptcy case (Because it was treated as an asset, I lost control of it). If any investigation is ever undertaken with respect to that matter – a very unlikely event – I suspect it will uncover some interesting connections between him and NXIVM’s attorneys.

  • He doesn’t realise it, but the vast majority of people who learn about his activities will respond with feelings of revulsion and disgust. None of his evil mind tricks can change that. He’s been dragged out into light of day and exposed for what he is. He is a psychopath not dissimilar to Charles Manson. I am convinced that if he had not been arrested, he would have eventually used his DOS zombies as a murder squad. He has stated on camera that he’s had people killed, and I believe him 100%. Manson didn’t brand his followers, but he did get them to carve swastikas into their foreheads. Raniere should never be released. His psychopathic nature makes him a danger to anyone who comes into his orbit. How can a criminal, who believes they’ve done nothing wrong be rehabilitated? This unrepentant child molester should get life with no chance of parole.

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