By Frank Parlato
The following post does not cover any charges of the expected superseding indictment against Keith Raniere and Allison Mack.
Raniere was arrested March 26 and charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy after an FBI investigation into a complaint that a sect within NXIVM was branding women and coercing them into serving as sex slaves.
Former Smallville star Allison Mack was arrested on April 20 on the same charges and released four days later on home arrest and a $5 million bond. Both Raniere and Mack have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Raniere’s bail motion was denied last week
From what I have learned from informed sources, added to which is my own speculation, the Raniere defense strategy is going to marshal many women – from old to young – to show they loved what they were doing with him.
There was a sexual component – sure – but women loved that – it was all consensual and there was much more: There was love and sisterhood and community and Raniere [they only needed one man – with whom a group of women had siloed relations] was their teacher – their ethicist. He opened, even broke down, many doors in order for them to enter into news worlds of wonder.
It was a kind and gentle lifestyle, they will testify, and it was theirs to live, and not the government’s to dictate, how they should behave in bedrooms or kitchens, at Apropos, in Allison Mack’s town home or in a villa in Puerto Vallarta.
Raniere’s defense team will stipulate I believe that, yes, there was plenty of sex. So what? So what if a group of adult women want to have sex with the same man. Do jurors want to make that illegal?
Dozens of women, they hope, will testify. They are making a list. Testify that Raniere is their best friend – and helped them lead more meaningful lives; they consented to the lifestyle. The government took him away. They are unhappy about this. And these are smart looking, intelligent women. Picture India Oxenberg and Nicki Clyne – and two dozen more bravely on the stand. [They can hold out too until trial if Clare Bronfman can remain at large.]
So here is the strategy, I predict, for the defense: Try to get a jury with as many guys as possible. Use the defense’s peremptory challenges – which can automatically exclude a juror without cause – to knock off older women, Born Again Christians and any stripe of militant feminist.
The defense will almost certainly retain a top jury consultant – who will have access to the names of those in the jury pool – to help with researching to try to find out the tastes, mores, buying habits, voting records etc. of potential jurors.
If possible, try to get LBGTs, or any persons whose own sexual freedom was likely to ever be condemned or threatened on that jury. Bisexuals. Anyone who watches porn. Young people who might find alternative lifestyles more acceptable.
Any of an adolescent bent who might think that a life of the playboy Raniere – with a cavalcade of good looking women – all competing to be with him – is something they would like to have had for themselves. Find average looking, short guys with glasses, maybe with a paunch, who would be only too pleased to get a harem of beautiful women – the likes of which he could not get in his dreams – all competing to be with him. Find the parent’s basement-dwelling millennial and get him on the jury.
Stay away from the man-haters. Stay away from middle age men with daughters. Try to get sex addicts on the jury. Try to show that alternative lifestyles are not a crime.
Paint Keith not as a Vanguard or an ethicist – but as a guy who figured out how to remain in high school all his life.
Here are some of the women I expect to testify. Keep in mind some of them may be indicted in the coming weeks and that may change the decision to testify for Raniere. Indeed, some of them may even – to save themselves – decide to testify against him.
But also keep in mind – there is quite a crew – and when and if they parade – one after the other – on the witness stand, they will make an entirely different impression about Raniere than what the prosecution has alleged him to be [and quite accurately I might add].
His brainwashed followers will not appear to be brainwashed and as each, in turn, testifies how wonderful life with Keith Raniere was – it might make quite a startling impression.
As for those who may think I am doing the case a disservice by publishing this – as if the defense has not considered this – it is inconceivable that they have not thought of this strategy and are building their defense around it. The defense, likewise, has already considered all this most likely. But I think I do a service in presenting the visual below.
These will not be unkempt and crazy looking women but a parade of intelligent sounding women all claiming the same thing: Consensual sex and women-empowerment. And what is the point of women’s empowerment if women themselves cannot choose the lifestyle they wish to lead?
Of course, there could be something catastrophic that could happen to the defense’s case. If Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman or Clare Bronfman – who are currently heading and holding the organization together – were to be indicted, I cannot promise whether this parade of witnesses will hold together. If any, or all three, are indicted and as condition of their release, they are forbidden to communicate with the raft of witnesses – it would then be entirely up to Sara Bronfman to hold the group together. Whether or not she is up to the task remains to be seen. She certainly has the money to do so.
Also, as I stated at the beginning – the superseding indictment may be a game changer in the entire defense strategy. But, for now, just look at these good looking witnesses – who I believe stand ready to testify on behalf of their Vanguard. These are not Charlie Manson kooks. These are Raniere kooks. They don’t look kooky at all. That is what sets Raniere apart from a low level cult leader like Manson. And why we call him Vanguard.
Amanda Canning Esq.
And others —-