Although many people think of “immunity” and “plea deals” as being one and the same, they are, in fact, quite different legal concepts, both in theory and in practice.
To begin with, there are actually three different types of immunity.
The first of these is called Proffer Letter Immunity – and it’s the most common and weakest type. All it does is allow someone to meet with federal investigators and/or prosecutors with the assurance that, with two exceptions, what they say won’t be used against them later on in a criminal proceeding.
The first exception is that the feds can use anything the person says to collect evidence that can subsequently be used against them – and the second exception is that if the person subsequently testifies in court and says something different than what they said in their King/Queen For A Day meeting, the feds can use their original statement to impeach their testimony.
The second type is called Letter Immunity – and it usually involves a fairly detailed agreement that is negotiated between an individual’s legal representative and the feds. What this kind of immunity gives someone is a promise by the feds that they won’t use what the person says against them, either to find other evidence or for any kind of prosecution.
The third type is called Statutory Immunity – and it’s the rarest and strongest type. What this type of immunity means is that a federal district court judge looked at the possible testimony that someone would give in a grand jury proceeding or at a trial and decided that the person has, per the Fifth Amendment, a legitimate right not to answer any question – and then ordered the person to testify anyway.
So, with all that in mind, which of the current – or potential – NXIVM defendants is likely to get immunity? Most likely no one. And if anyone does, it most likely will be only Proffer Letter Immunity – which, as noted, does not really offer any guaranty that a person won’t be prosecuted.
There are three very important reasons why the feds probably won’t offer immunity to anyone.
– First, they already have one or more defendants who will likely agree to plea deals that will require them to divulge everything they know about the NXIVM crime syndicate that was being run by Keith Raniere and the Bronfmans (Most immunity deals happen before the prosecution has been able to secure any indictments – and it needs testimony from one or more insiders to do so).
– Second, the feds already have several witnesses who will supply critical testimony against Raniere and his criminal cohorts. This includes the “Jane Does” that were cited in the indictment and the superseding indictment – and numerous others who are quite willing to tell what they know about the criminal activities of Raniere et al.
– Third, thanks to Raniere’s ego-driven demand to have virtually everything he ever said filmed and/or recorded – and his sick need to collect blackmail material on both his friends and enemies – the prosecution has a virtual treasure trove of documentary evidence to use at trial.
Plea deals, on the other hand, are agreements in a criminal case between the prosecution and a defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty to one or more specific charges in return for some concession(s) from the prosecutor. This, in turn, usually ensures that the defendant will get a certain sentence – although, depending on how the plea deal is structured, the actual sentence may be left up to the discretion of the presiding judge.
So, which of the current – or potential – NXIVM defendants is likely to get a plea deal? Well, it won’t be many – and the first ones to the bargaining table will undoubtedly get the best deals.
And without naming any specific names, there are probably six types of defendants that the feds would consider for plea deals:
(1) Someone who can provide details about the DOS sex trafficking operations.
(2) Someone who can provide details about some/all of the financial-related crimes (e.g., money laundering, tax evasion, etc.).
(3) Someone who can provide details about NXIVM’s abuse of the legal system, both in terms of its numerous, baseless civil lawsuits – and the lies and perjuries it used to get innocent people indicted.
(4) Someone who can provide details about the various public officials who were bribed or blackmailed in order to turn their back on NXIVM’s illegal activities – or to aid and abet NXIVM in the commission of crimes.
(5) Someone who can provide details about all of NXIVM’s illegal IT-related activities (e.g., the hacking into others’ emails accounts; the planting of keyloggers, spyware, and viruses on others’ computers; the planting of child pornography on John Tighe’s computer; etc.).
(6) Someone who can provide details about NXIVM’s operations in Mexico.
So the Plea Deal Bus could possibly have as many as six seats. Now, the question is who’s going to fill them…