MK10ART's beautiful painting of Keith Alan Raniere.

Why Weren’t Some Potential Witnesses Called By The Prosecution?

Hard to believe that almost a month has passed since The Vanguard was found guilty on all charges by a jury that spent less time deliberating his fate than he spent playing volleyball each week.

But that, in fact, is the case.

Guess time really does fly when you’re having fun…

The Uncalled Witnesses

Far be it for me to challenge success – and the strategy and tactics that were utilized by Moira Kim Penza and the rest of her prosecutorial team obviously produced a successful outcome.

Moira Kim Penza 

Short of having the jury haul Raniere out into the park across from the EDNY courthouse and stone him to death, the prosecution pretty much got the perfect result in this case.

Hell, even Raniere’s lead attorney, Marc Agnifilo, pretty much acknowledged that his slug of a client got what he deserved (That still does not excuse Steve Coffey’s amateurish and boorish tirade about Agnifilo but it appears that Steve and his colleagues at O’Connell & Aronowitz have a few other things to worry about right now in terms of the ongoing investigation into Raniere and NXIVM).

Keith Raniere’s super lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, outside the Brooklyn courtroom [Photo by Dianne Lipson]
But it is interesting to look at some of the potential witnesses that the prosecution might have called – and to try and figure out why they chose not to do so.

Rather than try to prioritize them, let’s just take them in alphabetical order.

Barbara J. Bouchey
This one is actually pretty easy. Despite the fact that she could provide some really damning information in terms of how Raniere’s pissed away her life savings on his “can’t miss” commodities trading algorithm – and how he lost more than $90 million of the Bronfman sisters’ money on other stupid ventures – Barbara would have likely wanted to talk about what was “good” about the NXIVM tech. She would have been a disaster on cross-examination – with or without Keith’s inevitable Post-It Note questions.

The brilliant and impressionistic artist MK10ART’s painting of Barbara Bouchey drinking a milky white glass of Kool-Aid.

Clare Bronfman
According to recent reports, Clare is still 100% loyal to Raniere – and would likely have perjured herself rather than say anything negative about the only man in the world who reportedly ever fucked her. She’s already perjured herself in several other court proceedings – and probably would have been willing to pony up a couple more million in fines to do it again on behalf of “her man”. Also, there’s a very good chance that Clare is going to be facing additional criminal charges in the not-too-distant future.

Clare Bronfman

Sarah Edmondson
Although she was obviously willing to pull her pants down – and expose her KAR brand on page 1 of the New York Times – Sarah may not have been a good witness for the prosecution. At a minimum, she would have been asked on cross-examination about her reported $30,000/month income at the Vancouver Center – and why she stayed in the NXIVM cult for so many years.

Sarah Edmondson

Allison Mack
While Allison would have made a great witness if she were willing to tell the truth about Raniere’s involvement in DOS, she would have also been a major distraction at the trial. In addition to the fact that she was once a B-level Hollywood actress, she also would have had to deal with the fact that she once claimed that the “branding” was her idea.

Allison Mack

Joe O’Hara
Joe would have been an interesting witness because he’s the guy who helped set up NXIVM’s original political contacts – as well as their network of attorneys who would be willing to do anything as long as their fees were high enough (e.g., Richard Mays, Peter Lynch, etc.). But he’s a convicted felon – which automatically means he would have no credibility regardless of how much information he could provide about the NXIVM/ESP cult and its operations.

Joe O’Hara in cuffs in court

Toni Natalie
Although Toni desperately wanted to be a witness, the prosecution was very wary of calling her to the witness stand. In part, that’s because Toni has apparently forgotten about her involvement in the early stages of NXIVM/ESP – and, in part, it’s because there are still a lot of unanswered questions about her involvement in a variety of illegal activities before, during, and after the time she was part of Raniere’s harem.

Toni Natalie & Keith Raniere

Frank Parlato
Frank would have made a superb witness – especially in terms of detailing Raniere’s total control over the Bronfman sisters. But Frank still has a baseless federal indictment hanging over his head – which is probably why he was never called to the witness stand.

MK10 Frank Parlato

Nancy Salzman
Although she was the first of the co-defendants to plead guilty, Nancy apparently did not enter into any type of “cooperation agreement” with the feds. Thus, she was not compelled to testify like her daughter, Lauren – which meant that she may have just invoked her 5th Amendment rights had she been called to testify at Raniere’s trial.

Nancy Salzman


So, there you have it…

A lot of interesting potential witnesses who were never called to testify by the prosecution in Raniere’s case.

But, not to worry.

The feds are not done with Raniere and those who enabled him to be a scourge on the landscape of Upstate New York for so many years.

These – and lots of others – might get a chance to testify in a future trial.

Viva Executive Success!

About the author

K.R. Claviger


Click here to post a comment
  • SE did, of course, a great effort to bring this monster down, but to think that she potentially still lives from NXIVM’s dirty money makes me sick to my stomach.

    • Edmondson is one of the Vancouver actors who it would actually be really telling, to get more of an accounting from.

      My guess would be that her income wasn’t really as high as it might seem – she would have been expected to turn around and spend a lot on NXIVM herself, which was the whole point of its pyramid-scheme–like quality – and that in Canada she probably paid lots in taxes, and as an actress she had a fairly expensive lifestyle. Then, getting good legal help to deal with issues related to leaving NXIVM and closing her center, not taking into account NXIVM suing her as they had done others, could easily have cost $100,000. I doubt she came out ahead, and given what Raniere tended to do to people financially, she may even have been a net loser.

      • Dones and Vicente should be able to shed some light on the profitability of a NXIVM center, but they haven’t. Suddenly, all of the “heros” have tarnished images.

        • Scott, you know how MLM/ pyramid schemes work. The money rolls up hill to the top level.

          No one who ran a center ever made enough money to pay off their investment of opening it let alone to keep the doors open.

          Because of non-disclosure agreement in place, people can face lawsuits by disclosing NXIVM payment plan.

          Take notice that most who left were broke or had to file for bankruptcy. Most had to find another way to rebuild their lives.

          Bouchey was lucky, she at least had enough of her financial planning business left she has a pretty good life when it comes to.income. Not so with others.

          Keep that in mind when you want to slam those you think won’t speak out. We just cant handle another lawsuit. NXIVM is still a business.

          • I look at it the other way…if NXIVM is “still a business”, they can still be sued. If NXIVM is “still a business”, they have attachable assets which can be used to pay damages. As time goes on this opportunity as it were may disappear.

            I would fear not Clare Bronfman. I would look at her great(ly diminished) wealth as a treasure trove for those who have suffered harm due to the criminal activities of the Mini Manson/Mini Madoff and his posse of B minus actresses and lost souls. Home schooled and oh so homely, Clare Bronfman’s winning percentage when it comes to litigation is right up there with the Washington Generals when it comes to basketball (According to Wikipedia, The Washington Generals, the foils of the Harlem Globetrotters, once had a 2,495 game losing streak).

      • Still don’t understand how Hallmark dumped Lori Loughlin and allows Sarah Edmondson to ply her trade.

        Sarah the brave. Sarah the heroine. Sarah knew she would get more exposure on the front page of The New York Times than she got in an entire career of voice acting and dreadful Canadian summer stock theater.

        Hope the NXIVM movie/miniseries shows “Nippie”, Edmondson’s husband, upon discovering that his wife has been branded like a piece of cattle, absolutely going ballistic…..and sending a whiney, self centered email to Nancy Saltzman. Laugh out fucking loud.

  • Is that picture of Mack really her, or Raniere in drag? We’ll never know, because there’s no cankle shot.

    How about the hapless Kathy Russell? A tutu performance in court to show how skilled she is would have been the perfect illustration of Raniere’s “brilliance.”

  • Deep down many of these witnesses are still loyal to NXIVM.
    And several of these NXIVM gangsters need to be indicted in the NDNY and brought to justice in Albany where their crimes were committed.

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