The U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney, Eastern District of New York, is opposing criminal defendant Keith Alan Raniere’s motion to close the courtroom and hide from the public his “friends” – who evidently wish to post bail for him.
In opposition to the Raniere defense team’s 13-page letter, the prosecution’s response is slightly more than two pages.
The unnamed blogger referenced below [in the letter] is myself and the blog is Frank Report.
The DOJ does not get into many details of Raniere’s defense team’s numerous allegations. They merely point out that they are conclusory and not backed up with any evidence whatsoever.
Here is the DOJ’s letter in full.
Dear Judge Garaufis:
The government respectfully writes in response to the defendant Keith Raniere’s submission, dated August 28, 2018, seeking closure of court proceedings relating to an anticipated motion for pretrial release on bond.
In United States v. Alcantara, 396 F.3d 189 (2d Cir. 2005), the Second Circuit set forth the procedures to be followed before a court may close criminal proceedings.
The court explained: [A] motion for courtroom closure should be docketed in the public docket files maintained in the court clerk’s office. The motion itself may be filed under seal, when appropriate, by leave of court, but the publicly maintained docket entries should reflect the fact that the motion was filed, the fact that the motion and any supporting or opposing papers were filed under seal, the time and place of any hearing on the motion, the occurrence of such hearing, the disposition of the motion, and the fact of courtroom closure, whether ordered upon motion of a party or by the Court sua sponte. Entries on the docket should be made promptly, normally on the day the pertinent event occurs. Id. at 200 (citations omitted).
The Second Circuit in Alcantara also reiterated that “[b]efore excluding the public from [criminal] proceedings, district courts must make findings on the record demonstrating the need for the exclusion.” Id. at 192. It observed that “[t]he power to close a courtroom where proceedings are being conducted during the course of a criminal prosecution . . . is one to be very seldom exercised, and even then only with the greatest caution, under urgent circumstances and for very clear and apparent reasons.” Id. (quoting United States v. Cojab, 996 F.2d 1401, 1405 (2d Cir. 1993)).
The Second Circuit has identified “four steps that a district court must follow in deciding a motion for closure.” United States v. John Doe, 63 F.3d 121, 128 (2d Cir. 1995). First, the Court must identify, through specific findings, whether there exists “a substantial probability of prejudice to a compelling interest of the defendant, government or third party.” Id.; see also United States v. John Doe, 2015 WL 6444945, at *3 (2d Cir. Oct. 26, 2015) (summary order).
The Circuit has provided specific, illustrative examples of such compelling interests, including the defendant’s right to a fair trial, the privacy interests of the defendant, victims or other persons, “the integrity of significant government activities entitled to confidentiality, such as ongoing undercover investigations or detection devices,” and danger to persons or property. John Doe, 63 F.3d at 128; see Woods v. Kuhlmann, 977 F.2d 74, 76-77 (2d Cir. 1992) (finding no error in partial closure of a courtroom for the testimony of a witness who “was ‘scared to death’ because she had been threatened by at least one member of the defendant’s family,” after the “trial judge adequately assessed the scope of [the witness’s] fear.”).
The defendant’s thirteen-page submission fails to identify any compelling interest supporting courtroom closure of a pretrial detention hearing or the sealing of potential suretors’ identities.
The defendant argues, without factual support, that he and “his supporters” have been the subject of “increasing negative press, including false and defamatory statements,” and that critics of Nxivm may have access to personal information about these potential suretors that could be published if their identities were made public. Def. Mot. at 5.
Even if the Court were to credit these claims, they do not provide a sufficient basis for the Court to make specific findings that there is a “substantial probability of prejudice to a compelling interest” of any party; the defendant alleges only generalized fears of negative media attention, including in a blog critical of Nxivm, whose author publicly admits to writing “fictional stories” to make the defendant “look ridiculous,” Def. Mot at 6 n.6. 1.
These allegations, which are not particularized to any individual or potential suretor, cannot support a motion for courtroom closure.
1 The defendant’s suggestion that the author of the blog is the recipient of a “steady stream of law enforcement leaks” is false.
In circumstances where “a conclusory or wholly implausible allegation of danger is presented,” as in this case, “a district court may be justified in denying a closure motion without making any explicit findings of fact.” Doe, 63 F.3d at 130.
Accordingly, the government respectfully submits that because the defendant’s motion does not provide a sufficient basis for courtroom closure or sealing, it should be summarily denied.
RICHARD P. DONOGHUE
United States Attorney
Moira Kim Penza
Assistant U.S. Attorneys
To close a courtroom from the public in a criminal trial is an extraordinary remedy – and not one to be accomplished merely because the defendant or his “friends” think they will get bad press from the media or even from one vexatious blog writer.
I imagine if the judge thought the 13 pages of conclusory allegations made against me and other so-called critics of NXIVM had possible merit, he could conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine the truth or fallacy of what Raniere’s attorneys allege.
I would welcome such a hearing and would be pleased to come to Brooklyn at my own expense and testify – with ample evidence – of many new and startling Raniere realities. And I would not ask for the court to be closed from the public.
Personally, I think these individuals who wish to secretly bail out Keith Raniere should have some confidence in the law’s presumption of innocence and put their names out there publicly.
It’s the ethical thing to do. Keith Raniere has enjoyed great fame as the “world’s smartest man” and one of its most ethical. Why would someone who truly believes that not have the courage to put their name in support of such a grand person in his time of need?
It is suspicious.
I think they should consider adopting this motto: “We have nothing to fear but Ranier’- himself!”
Here is the pdf version of the letter: https://frankreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2018-08-30-Govt-Response-to-Close-Court.pdf
[…] of friends of Raniere’s who want to sign as guarantors of his bail bond. The prosecution promptly responded opposing Raniere’s […]
[…] of friends of Raniere’s who want to sign as guarantors of his bail bond. The prosecution promptly responded opposing Raniere’s […]
Since the issue has been brought before the court do they now have to follow through with their originol offer?
I don’t think so. The whole point in these back and forth of letters to the Judge rather than an actual motion is there can’t be any forced disclosure.
An informal game to rack up the billables.
From my 35 years practicing criminal law, motions like this get filed in almost every privately retained case to (1) do the client’s bidding or (2) to show the client that the attorney is working hard on their defense. In many instances the motions have no more specific factual allegations than this one and do not lead to favorable rulings. This is just attorneys working to keep their client happy.
Maybe his kids robbed their piggy banks to help daddy
Maybe Raniere’s father is willing to bail his son out, but doesn’t want the embarassment of being openly involved? Still doesn’t rate an anonymous donation, but I sure would be uncomfortable about people looking at me as the parent (responsible for the creation) of a psycho.
I think the prosecution has set the stage quite perfectly. Just look at these two statements from its responsive filing to Raniere’s motion:
(1). “The Second Circuit in Alcantara also reiterated that ‘[b]efore excluding the public from [criminal] proceedings, district courts must make findings on the record demonstrating the need for the exclusion’.”
(2). “The Second Circuit has identified ‘four steps that a district court must follow in deciding a motion for closure.’ United States v. John Doe, 63 F.3d 121, 128 (2d Cir. 1995). First, the Court must identify, through specific findings, whether there exists ‘a substantial probability of prejudice to a compelling interest of the defendant, government or third party.’ Id.; see also United States v. John Doe, 2015 WL 6444945, at *3 (2d Cir. Oct. 26, 2015) (summary order).
Both of these statements are intended to remind Judge Garaufis that in order to grant Raniere’s motion, he must have “findings” and “specific findings” – that justify such an outcome. Well, given that, with one exception, Raniere’s attorneys did not supply any evidence to back up their allegations and claims, there’s only one way for the judge to generate such findings: i.e., hold an evidentiary hearing and have Raniere’s attorneys submit documentary evidence and/or produce witnesses who will testify and be subject to cross-examination by the prosecution (The one exception was John Tighe’s plea deal and allocution – which, given that’s he’s in prison and not a threat to anyone right one, is hardly persuasive).
I know those big city attorneys are a lot smarter and slicker than those of us who practice elsewhere, but it looks to me that they stepped in shit this time. If the judge schedules an evidentiary hearing, I would think that the original motion would immediately get withdrawn.
NXIVM has finally come up against the real legal system, the shock to their systems a wonder to behold. When is someone going to step forward and give John Tighe a chance to tell his side of the plea deal he really had no choice but to take in a real court of law?
I think he has already told his side of the story through Joe, and will not put his liver transplant at risk.
This could be a way to cover up that “the cash” that NXIVM has never claimed on their taxes, was brought illegally from Mexico to NXIVM’S leadership and hidden in homes throughout NXIVM-Ville, has been spread out among those now wanting to post his bail.
Making those names public allow those who know such people never had those financial resources and now the money has, like Van-free loader, just appeared so they can help their Master have his freedom to do more harm.
It also can show the conflict of interest with co-defendants like Calre or maybe soon to be Sara Bronfman ponying up the money.
It could also be people in height places that through Van-get what you can on them so we can hold it over their heads (extortion/blackmail to put yo or be exposed.
If not the above, why not stand strong in your edification of your Master and say your supporting him?
People willing to pony up with funds BEWARE, ITS NOT THE FIRST TIME VANTake&LOSE YOUR $$$has been willing to gamble and lose millions. Need you be reminded to 68 +million lose in gambling in the Commodities Market. 25 + million lost in a debacle real estate venture. What about the million spent on legal cases that NXIVM via the guidance of Vansosmart filed falsely and in the end lost those cases.
Face it people, Keith Raniere is a user and loser. Yet these so called logical thinking people are still buying back the dollar when it comes to their kit so smart Master.
The liars Jane Does have their name hidden and they lie. Why can’t truth people be hidden too. Double standard!
Put yourself in the place of the guarantors of Keith’s bond. These are highly ethical people and who have businesses orr jobs in the community. Their names will Come out and the monster Frank will name them and they will lose their jobs or people will boycott their business and ruin them just because these innocent people believe he is innocent. Is this fair. If some women who just makes up a fake allegation can have her name shielded – and lots of women lie – why can’t they shield the names of Keith’s friends. Why make them victims?
Are you one of the women who lie?
There are no ultimate victims. Kind of sounds like the putrid pedo can dish it out but can’t take it.
Highly ethical my butt.
Good point pea, lots of women lie….such as yourself.
Why would highly ethical people lose their jobs for helping someone they say they genuinely believe in. You don’t really believe that Frank has that kind of power, to make a victim of someone who has done no wrong? The legal system that Keith and his merry band have been using to their advantage for decades and obviously believe in is suddenly not so wonderful. Offering to help bail someone out of jail is a wonderful selfless act. Protecting the name of a victim is in a whole different class. People who have done no wrong do not lose their jobs for no reason, unless of course Clare Bronfman has paid off their employers with an amount of money that simply can’t be turned down. Or planted evidence that simply is to dirty to ignore, or take a chance that if true innocents may be hurt which is what your hero’s were banking on. You might want to check the legal definition of victim!
Hey everyone – why not call KR’s old cell phone number: 518-461-8384? (Published in KR’s lovesick letter to Toni, as posted on this website.) Chances are investigators have reactivated it and will pick it up. You may be able to speak somewhat anonymously.
For a group that purports to be morally superior and so proud of their beliefs and ways, they sure seem to engage in a lot of secrecy, non-disclosure, deceit, manipulative behavior, concealment, and lack of transparency.
I think there is a word for that.
Hypocrites. No one can claim safety from hypocrisy, but the people who belonged to this cult seem[ed] to exceed other people in its extent.
The prosecutors did a good job of swatting down a big pile of nonsensical garbage with simplicity.
Does anybody consider the possibility that these two alleged co-signors don’t even exist at this point, and the defence team is trying to use this to get someone to be willing to put their name to it ?
Anyhow, if they do, I expect somebody left within the high ranks would be the one to leak their identity, not law enforcement.
Omar (@formernexian) what do you think being the lawyer that you are? The judge so far hasn’t been lenient to Nex entreaties. Would he be swayed by either arguments?
I think the entire motion is ridiculous. There is no precedent for a guarantor on a bond to remain anonymous, close the bond hearing, or shield the guarantors from scrutiny.
Keith has painted himself into a corner. Because if you claim to have zero assets, 1) how do explain $8 Million in your bank account and 2) how does it harm if you post a bond then jump bail and skip town? It doesn’t because it is not your money.
It appears Clare is trying to set up strawmen to post the bond for Keith. If their identities are revealed, there are enough of us to investigate and follow the money trail.
I think the big factor will be Keith’s behavior prior to his arrest. Fleeing to Mexico. Living it up in a $10,000 a week villa with his girlfriends, changing his electronic trail so as not to be tracked.
If anything, the motion will bring more readers to the Frank Report. I really hope the NYPost covers it. That will bring more traffic and visibility. Plus, it brings more attention to the sham case against Frank. So, hopefully the added community outcry will help to convince the US Attorneys Office to drop Frank’s case.
…and revisit Tighe’s conviction as well….
I assume the answer to this question is yes, since Basit Igtet was allowed to sign on behalf of Clare, granted he is a relative by marriage, but can a foreign national co-sign on bail? The only people with enough assets to sign off would be the Mexicans. Looking over the list of the remaining high ranks that was posted a few days ago, there are few left in the US and most cant scrape two dimes together. Emiliano has dual citizenship and we all know the Salinas’s have the money to lose. Then you have the Boones. Betancourts, Garza’s, Anaya’s and Madrid’s who probably have the assets.
I honestly think,they want a closed hearing so as not to out the Mexicans who announced they had “distanced” themselves from Keith. If Alex and Emi were to pledge assets, they would be proven to be liars.
Nice to seem someone with thinking skills posting here. Great comment.
What are they waiting for ? Do they really believe they can protect the corrupt judge who allowed this to happen to Frank? I hope Frank has a civil suit ready because his day is coming. Keith’s day is coming to, maybe not the way he planned. But when you’ve never been told no it would be hard to accept . Pea if you really want to help you may want to hold your posts for awhile, if your the best Nxivm has who’s willing to come forward to defend Keith and you believe Frankreport has the power his followers do, well figure that one out for yourself.