Danielle Smith

Raniere has new attorney, bringing team up to five lawyers

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

Frank Report’s founder and lead writer Frank Parlato is one of the internet’s most acclaimed investigative journalists. His writing and investigations have helped expose major criminal organizations and scandals.

Frank’s work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Rolling Stone, and more.

He is also the publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.


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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 Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

Frank Parlato was the lead investigator and coordinating producer of Investigation Discovery's 2 hour blockbuster special 'The Lost Women of NXIVM.'

Frank Report is dedicated to Frank's investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth.

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

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