Raniere has new attorney, bringing team up to five lawyers

Danielle Smith

By Frank Parlato 

Another Attorney for Raniere
Danielle Renee Smith has joined the legal team for Keith Raniere, which already includes Paul DerOhannesian II, of Albany, NY, and Marc Agnifilo, Jacob Kaplan and Teny Rose Geragos of New York City. The latter three are with the law firm of famed NYC lawyer Ben Brafman. That means that Raniere now has enough lawyers to form a basketball team — and a co-ed one to boot!
But Raniere can consult with his attorneys only when they visit him at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. There are rooms there where detained defendants can meet with their attorneys but there may not be one big enough to hold him and his entire legal team. It’s a cumbersome process for busy lawyers used to having clients come to them to go to the prison, pass security, wait for the prisoner, and then see him under highly guarded and uncomfortable settings.
Had Raniere not fled to Mexico – he might have had a chance at bail. Given the charges he’s facing, however — and the allegation that he’s a danger to the community – he  might have been denied anyway.
He went from a $10,000 per week villa in Puerto Vallarta to a free prison cell in Brooklyn. That’s Executive Success at its best.
Mexico transfer 2
Keith Raniere chose to go to Mexico while the FBI was investigating his crime syndicate. He was arrested in Mexico and deported to the USA. The photo above is not Raniere, but it is true that at some point he was transferred from Mexican to US custody, not unlike what is depicted in this photograph.

His latest lawyer, Danielle Renee Smith, began her career as a law clerk to Magistrate Judge Victor E. Bianchini. In March 2011, she transitioned into a new position as a staff attorney for the Northern District of New York. In 2013, after over four years with Federal Courts, Danielle joined the law firm of DerOhannesian & DerOhannesian as an associate attorney. She is primarily responsible for assisting the principal attorney, Paul DerOhannesian II, in researching and drafting motions, legal memoranda, and appellate briefs concerning criminal and civil litigation matters.

Danielle has appeared in federal courts in the Northern and Southern Districts of New York. And with her latest client, she’s making her first appearance in the Eastern district of New York.


About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • “You show me a lazy prick who’s lying in bed all day, watching TV, only occasionally getting up to piss, and I’ll show you a guy who’s not causing any trouble.”
    ― George Carlin, Brain Droppings

    I mean, seriously people. What has he done? I forgot to mention the sneaky cheese burgers but that is also benign…

  • Big ears- you would no longer have the ability to cry if you chose otherwise. At least, not genuinely anyway. Socios like this have a way of stealing others ability to feel since such misery needs company.

  • Would estimate that Raniere’s legal bills will be at least $3 million if he goes to trial – and $2 million if he cuts a plea deal within the next year or so. Makes me want to cry that I decided early on in my career not to defend sociopaths.

  • She doesn’t seem to have a lot of experience with organized crime or RICO cases.

    That being said, the FBI probably has so much evidence, it won’t make a difference who is VanGrifter’s attorney. Remember, we have no idea how long the FBI wiretaps and electronic surveillance have been going on. And I’m sure Nancy’s vault of CA$H, zip drives, and burner phones has a lot of forensic evidence.

  • Wow, for a guy who owns nothing, as he has said for decades, he sure can afford a great team of lawyers. Are the Feds looking into how he’s paying?

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com


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