Rumors continue to circulate today in the EDNY courthouse that Keith Raniere and his defense team will not offer any defense after the prosecution rests its case.
Instead, they will apparently argue that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof with respect to any of the seven charges that Raniere is facing – and ask the jury to acquit him on all of them.
Just to remind our readers, the seven charges that Raniere is facing in this trial are as follows:
– Racketeering Conspiracy
– Forced Labor Conspiracy
– Wire Fraud Conspiracy
– Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
– Sex Trafficking
– Attempted Sex Trafficking
Four other charges that were included in the second superseding indictment were dismissed on jurisdictional grounds – and referred to the Northern District of New York (NDNY). Those four charges are as follows:
– Sexual Exploitation Of A Child (Incident #1)
– Sexual Exploitation Of A Child (Incident #2)
– Possession Of Child Pornography
– Conspiracy To Commit Identity Theft (Clare Bronfman is also facing this charge in the NDNY)
Closing Arguments & Jury Charge
If the rumors are correct, then all that will be left after today’s direct testimony and cross-examination will be the closing arguments by both sides – and the jury charge by the presiding judge, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
Those three items will likely take 2-3 days.
Which means that in all likelihood, the jury will start deliberations on the case by the middle of next week.
Raniere To Give Closing Argument For the Defense?
But there’s another rumor circulating in the courthouse today . . .
That Keith Raniere will be doing his own closing argument!
When we first heard this, we thought it was just some sort of courtroom humor.
But as the rumor has persisted – and as we’ve reflected more on Keith Raniere – we’ve begun to think there’s a chance, albeit a small one, that it could be true.
To understand why we believe that, readers must first understand the story of Howard Roark, the protagonist in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.
Howard Roark: The Fountainhead
Howard Roark is a brilliant young architect who strives to stay true to his artistic visions in the modernist movement rather than conform to the traditional ways of his profession and reject innovation.
But he is expelled from the Architecture Department of the Stanton Institute of Technology because of his refusal to adhere to the school’s preference for historical convention in building design.
Roark moves to New York City – and goes to work for Henry Cameron, a once-renowned architect who no longer gets many jobs.
Meanwhile, Peter Keating, one of Roark’s former classmates at Stanton, graduates with top honors from the school – and lands a job at the prestigious Francon & Heyer architectural firm, which is also in New York City.
Eventually, Keating asks Roark to do the design work for a very important project that Keating has been hired to develop.
Roark agrees to do so – subject to two conditions: (1) he must remain anonymous and (2) there can no changes to his design.
After finishing the design work, Roark departs for a long vacation.
When he returns, he finds that Keating has allowed several major changes to be made to the building he designed.
Distraught with these developments, Roark blows up the building.
Roark is arrested – and goes to trial.
At the conclusion of the prosecution’s case, Roark offers no defense – but opts instead to explain why he blew up the building in the closing argument that he delivers to the jury.
Despite the fact that Roark is obviously guilty of the charges he is facing, the jury acquits him in what amounts to a case of jury nullification.
(There’s much more to this story – but none of it is particularly relevant to Keith)
Keith Raniere: Rational Inquiry
So, here we have Keith Alan Raniere AKA The Vanguard, whose beliefs – as bizarre and illogical as some find them to be – are just as important to him as Howard Roark’s were when he decided to blow up the building he had designed.
Surely, Keith will take this opportunity to explain to the jury why he did what he did – and why he should not be found guilty of anything.
Howard Roark has always been one of Keith’s heroes.
And a Vanguard – a true Vanguard – must surely stand up for his core beliefs, the things that make him who he is.
Plus, by not taking the witness stand – and limiting himself to just the closing argument – Keith will have avoided what undoubtedly would have been a vigorous cross-examination by the lead prosecutor, Moira Kim Penza.
Keith has nothing to lose by doing the closing argument himself – and everything to gain.
Imagine how spellbinding he would be when he is the only one speaking in what will undoubtedly be a packed courtroom.
Imagine what he could do with an unlimited amount of time to explain his beliefs without any interruptions.
He only has to convince one juror to get a hung jury – which, given Keith’s abilities to convince people to do what he wants, should be a very easy thing to do.
Convincing all twelve to acquit may be more difficult.
But if Howard Roark could do it, then surely Keith can.
Not doing the closing argument would almost be an affirmation that Keith is nothing more than a bully who hides in the bathroom – or runs away – when he’s confronted by angry women.
Moira Kim Penza and Tanya Hajjar are angry women.
Doesn’t Keith have to stand up to them – and defend himself?