Lost in the buzz surrounding Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis’ admonishing of the defense attorneys for Keith Raniere and his cohorts-in-crime at last week’s Status Conference was the prosecution’s filing of a Memorandum-of-Law regarding how certain seized materials should be treated.
That filing may be more explosive than the judge’s chastisement of the defense attorneys for their apparent disrespect for his position.
In the Memorandum, there are some revelations that should cause all six of the current defendants – Raniere, Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman, Kathy Russell, and Nancy Salzman – to lose more than a little sleep.
In that filing, the prosecution lays out its arguments as to why it believes it should be able to turn over “entire forensic copies of certain electronic evidence in its possession, pursuant to a protective order, to all defendants in the above-captioned case”. That, in fact, is exactly what the prosecution was doing until Nancy Salzman’s attorneys filed an objection to that process in late August.
The electronic evidence in question came from fifty-one electronic devices, including external hard drives and thumb drives, that were seized from Nancy Salzman’s house. The prosecution refers to these as “the Oregon Trail Devices”.
Judge Garaufis will likely rule on this matter within the next week or so. But regardless of which way he rules – and my sense is that he will rule for the prosecution – it’s what the prosecution disclosed in its Memorandum-of-Law that should be so disturbing to the defendants.
Here are some examples (Note: In this context, the term “other defendants” refers to Raniere, Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman, Clare Bronfman, and Kathy Russell):
– “A preliminary review of the Oregon Trail Devices has indicated that a very large quantity of material on the Oregon Trail Devices consists of documents or files authored by other defendants or witnesses in this case, including NXIVM course materials and documents shared or authored by other defendants”.
– “…some of the Oregon Trail Devices contain files which appear to contain confessions of ‘breaches’ or other acknowledgments of purported personal failings authored by other defendants in the case”.
– “Based on its initial search, the Oregon Trail Devices contain evidence that would be admissible as to all defendants as enterprise evidence, among other things”.
– “The conspiracy charged in this case involves the intimate and near-daily association of the defendants for over a decade. Not surprisingly, therefore, the content of the Oregon Trail Devices includes data created by, or sent to, or related to, NXIVM and the defendants charged in this case”.
Clearly, the FBI found a treasure trove of evidence when it raided Nancy Salzman’s home two days after Raniere was arrested in Mexico. Which raises several questions – and calls into question just how bright Raniere really is (Despite his oft-repeated claim of being the “smartest man in the world”, he did only achieve a 2.26 GPA while in college).
– Why did Raniere entrust all these potentially damming materials to Nancy Salzman, the former Queen Bee of his cult who he demoted in favor of Clare Bronfman? Didn’t it ever occur to him that Nancy might be a little pissed-off about having to beg Clare for her monthly allowance?
– Why didn’t Raniere dispose of all these materials before he fled to Mexico? He knew the Feds were investigating him – and probably could have had a nice “burn party” before he left town.
– Why would Nancy not have disposed of these materials after she found out Keith had been arrested? Did she deliberately hold onto them – and more than $500,000 in cash – to ensure that the Feds would be able to take Vanguard down?
– Why did Raniere insist on having so many things recorded? Didn’t it ever occur to him that all this stuff could be used as evidence against him someday?
If you were one of the defendants in this case, this latest disclosure by the government should have already caused you to tell your attorney to see if you can get a decent plea deal from the government. Unfortunately, since Clare’s paying for your attorney, you’re probably reluctant to do that out of fear that it would cause her to cut off that funding.
And if you’re one of the many potential defendants who has not yet been charged, you ought to be calling friends and family members to try and raise enough money to hire your own attorney to seek out a plea deal. Or maybe try using a GoFundMe Campaign for that purpose (I’ll promote any such campaigns here on the Frank Report).
It’s ironic that Raniere’s perverted need to collect blackmail material on people – and the arrogance that he built up by getting away with his crimes for almost two decades – have made it so easy for the prosecution to put him away. It’s almost like he’s helping them.
Read the entire prosecution document: