James Odato, the hard hitting investigative reporter formerly with the Albany Times Union, is evidently still in the news business – at least part time.
He contributes to Reuters news service – in Albany – although not as frequently as his following of readers might like. Here is a link to some of his stories.
As readers know, Odato came out with a series of explosive stories about Keith Raniere culminating in a several-part series in early 2012 entitled “Secrets of NXIVM” which included the groundbreaking In Raniere’s Shadows which first exposed Raniere was allegedly a pedophile.
This series alone should have prompted a criminal investigation into the cult and its leader. Nothing happened – except Odato lost his job. Soon after the series was published, Odato, the Times Union, and several others were sued by NXIVM. One of the their leaders, Clare Bronfman, alleged he had entered into their password protected website to gather information about the cult. Bronfman also tried to get him criminally indicted using her vast wealth to influence public officials.
The civil lawsuit was virulent and included a battery of high priced attorneys on both sides. Odato was suspended or resigned from his job at the Times Union. The case was ultimately dismissed after it was discovered that Bronfman had lied about the date she first discovered the alleged computer trespass – having sworn the date was later than she told the state police in the criminal complaint. By moving the date forward in the civil complaint under oath, Bronfman hoped to keep the civil lawsuit within the statute of limitations. The hapless perjurer was caught, however, because sharp defense attorneys discovered Bronfman’s dual claims.
Her perjury in the computer trespass case mirrored what she did to me to both sue me civilly and file a complaint against me criminally. In the civil case, she said a certain contract never was entered into. Then, in the secrecy of the grand jury in the criminal case, she told the grand jury the exact opposite – that there was a contract. In both cases, she testified under oath and said exactly what was needed to help her case. The problem was both can’t be true.
Similarly, in the criminal and civil computer trespass cases, she swore under oath whatever it was that would help her case – even if they were contradictory. As a Bronfman, she probably recognized that she was above the law – in Albany County at least (It’s always helpful to have a County District Attorney who will do anything for you).
Despite absolute evidence of her perjury in the computer trespass case, she was not charged. Instead, the judge merely dismissed her case. Bronfman probably spent millions on a case that was begun with her perjury and other than the loss of her money, she got no punishment. Odato, on the other hand, had his career nearly destroyed.
Odato’s work however was not in vain. He was certainly one of the pillars of the community of reporters who helped exposed the monstrous cult of NXIVM. No one knows how many people were saved from joining the cult because of his work. It is believed by this writer that Kristin Kreuk may have left the cult, in part, because of the body of evidence Odato presented – especially in relation to Raniere’s propensity for statutory rape. This, of course, was on the heels of Raniere and Nancy Salzman encouraging Kreuk to recruit teen girls via a program called Girls By Design.
It should have been named Designed [by Raniere] to Get [Teen] Girls.