Will Vanguard take the witness stand?

While we wait for Keith Alan Raniere A/K/A/ The Vanguard N/K/A Federal Prisoner 57005-177 to go to trial – and don’t hold your breath because it’ll be at least six months and maybe as much 15 months before that happens – it’s interesting to ponder whether the smartest man in the world will testify on his own behalf.

In talking to several criminal defense attorneys about this issue, they all concurred that this is almost always the most difficult question that comes up in any criminal case.

In every such case, the defendant has the right to testify – and the right not to testify.

And if the defendant chooses not to testify, the judge must instruct the jury that this cannot be considered as evidence against him. In other words, the defendant is presumed innocent regardless of whether he testifies.

Those same attorneys report that defendants generally fall into three categories on this issue: (1) those who want to testify and tell their side of the story regardless of what their attorney advises; (2) those who are fearful of getting on the stand and answering questions under oath – and simply will not do so under any circumstances; and (3) those who will take the stand if that’s what their attorney advises them to do.

The decision to testify – or not testify – is ultimately up to the defendant. While the defense attorney may offer advice one way or the other, it is the defendant who must ultimately make this decision.

The problem for defendants that choose to testify is that once they get done answering their attorney’s carefully rehearsed set of questions, they must subject themselves to cross-examination by the prosecution. And unless the judge determines that a particular question is inappropriate for one reason or another, the defendant must answer every question that is asked by the prosecution.

As John H. Wigmore, the former Northwestern Law School dean, once wrote in his treatise on evidence, cross-examination is “…the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth” because it forces witnesses to respond to questions they may not want to answer, putting their credibility on the line.

In determining what to advise their clients on this matter, defense attorneys generally have to look at a number of factors concerning their client:

– Can (s)he handle the stress that comes with taking the witness stand or will (s)he become combative or nervous?
– Will (s)he come off as credible or evasive when being asked questions?
– Is (s)he naturally likable or unlikable?
– Is (s)he smart enough to avoid the various “traps” that the prosecution will have built into its series of questions?

So, will Keith Raniere take the witness stand – and testify on his own behalf when he goes to trial?

My guess is that despite being strongly advised not to do so, he’ll do just that.

Like most people who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder – and there is every reason to believe that this is certainly one of Raniere’s issues – he has certain traits that will compel him to take the stand so he can tell “his side of the story”. Those traits include, but are not limited to, the following:

– A strong sense of self-importance
– A lack of empathy
– Arrogant behavior
– An excessive urge for adulation
– An inability to take criticism
– A strong sense of entitlement

Given those traits, it’s virtually impossible that The Vanguard will sit idly by and trust his fate to the legal skills of his attorneys. In fact, his influence on the case has already been seen in some of the asinine motions that his attorneys have filed on his behalf (e.g., the fight over whether to seal the names of the co-guarantors of a bail bond that’s never going to be granted in the first place).

I think there’s a very good chance that Moira Kim Penza and Tanya Hajjar are going to get a chance to question Raniere under oath. And won’t it be fun to watch two highly-skilled women dismantle the smartest man in the world into a blathering idiot on the witness stand?

If you want an example of how Raniere fared the last time he was examined in court – read this. It involves a case where he sued Microsoft and AT&T claiming he owned certain patents that these two giant corporations were using that allowed them to profit by his genius.

If I’m not mistaken, it was teleconferencing and Skyping that he was claiming he invented.

The case was dismissed and Raniere was sanctioned by the court for lying and ordered to pay more than $1 million to the defendants for their legal fees. I doubt he’s paid the sanctions for, shortly after losing the appeal, he was arrested and put in the slammer for sex trafficking – where, by the way, he told U.S. Probation and Pretrial Supervision, under oath, that he had not a dollar to his name and no income.

Too bad he couldn’t have patented his unique method of branding.


If Keith Raniere takes the witness stand at his trial, he will have to undergo cross-examination.

He may also have to appear in his prison uniform – unless, of course, he’s granted bail – in which case he will not likely testify at all – unless he can testify via Skype, which he claims to have invented – from Libya, Fiji or any country without an extradition treaty with the USA.


About the author

K.R. Claviger


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  • You overlook a compelling factor in whether a criminal defendant testifies – in every jurisdiction in this country an attorney will lose their law license if they knowingly suborn perjury, in other words, knowingly let their client lie on the stand. Think back to when OJ Simpson’s lawyer, the one who got John DeLorean acquitted for cocaine trafficking, announced he had been retained in the “case of the century” but then days later told the court he had a conflict and had to be relieved as counsel. Every defense attorney in American knew at that moment that OJ had confessed to counsel and counsel believed OJ had to testify to win. The risk to being disbarred for knowingly allowing someone to lie on the stand is too great to allow even one client to do it, and the cure was for counsel to advise OJ to never confess to counsel again, and that’s why the Dream Team let him testify and got that good result.

    As applied to Raniere, if the attorneys know he will in fact lie under oath they will do all they can to keep him off the stand, even if he is insisting on testifying. One can hope they gave him the admonition most defense attorneys give their clients: “I don’t care if you did it, so never tell me if you did. That’s the only way I can effectively represent you . . .” That’s the only way he overcome counsel’s objection to his

  • My guess is Raniere’s lawyers won’t be able to keep him from testifying. His ego is too big. He believes he can sweet talk anyone into anything – including believing him. He also believes he is a very appealing person. As far as I know, if he does testify on his own behalf, he WILL be cross examined by the prosecution.

  • Good Lord – I just read the KR’s patent testimony for the first time. The world’s smartest man sure looked and sounded like a dumbass on the stand. It was almost painful to read. I was embarrassed for him – and his attorney that thought he had a leg to stand on.

  • The Feds believe that if cameras are allowed in Federal courtrooms that lawyers and witnesses will play to the camera and not to the jury.
    The Feds want to avoid courtroom spectacles.
    Think back to the OJ Simpson trial that had camera in the court room, it was a State of California trial, and how that turned into a farce.

  • While there is a Constitutional right that allows a defendant to refuse to testify, after a long trial where the prosecution beats up a defendant day after day after day, most jurors want to hear the defendant testify and defend himself.
    Although jurors are instructed to ignore a defendant’s refusal to testify, many jurors ignore that instruction and assume that a defendant who fails to defend himself is in fact guilty.

    • Is this an assertion, an opinion, or something you have observed after years of practicing law? Because when you state it as a fact without any support, you further dilute the dialogue.

      I would rather hear from attorneys, preferably attorneys connected with the case. And I am still waiting for an answer from you or Omar, Esq about the progress of certifying the class in the action on behalf of allegedly defrauded NXIVM “students”.

      You mention in another long tedious pronouncement the Raniere/ATT-Microsoft patent suit, where the judge had some choice words for Vanguard before dismissing the case in favor of ATT/Microsoft. Ironically, the same firm which represented Microsoft in that litigation represented Raniere in his 2003 lawsuit against Rick Ross.

      • “Ironically, the same firm which represented Microsoft in that litigation represented Raniere in his 2003 lawsuit against Rick Ross.”

        News Flash:
        Law Firms are hired guns.
        But The Defendant Didn’t Testify
        This is another “dirty little secret” post about the inner workings of a criminal jury trial. Under the Fifth Amendment, the defendant has an absolute right not to testify at trial, just as he has a right to give evidence on his own behalf if he chooses to. No big issue here.

        But it’s only human to expect a person to explain things or deny guilt. And jurors, if anything, are only human.
        In the mind of most people, the idea that they wouldn’t seize the opportunity to deny guilt is inconceivable.

        Not only will the jurors persist in their expectation that any innocent defendant would take the stand, but their expectation will be reinforced by the judge’s admonition about trying to circumvent the lack of testimony.

        This is a monumental gap in the fairness of a trial. Like it or not, every juror thinks the defendant ought to testify. Like it or not, the jury instruction is worthless to change a juror’s expectation. Like it or not, the impact to the defendant is devastating. And it happens all the time.



  • I can’t wait to see Agnifilo’s motion on why they shouldn’t be allowed to cross-examine him. Something along the lines of how he is too soft to handle it, and the prosecutors are big meanies.

    Weak men don’t fare well with strong, intelligent women, which is definitely clearly displayed in Raniere’s dealings with the female judge on that case.

    If a self-awareness quotient is considered an aspect of intelligence, he is a very dim bulb, indeed.

  • No doubt he will testify. As you’ve already listed the main reason. Narcissism, he is convinced for good reason look at what people have done in his name? I doubt even a year or two in jail prior to trial will lessen the power he believes is his.

  • I think Frank Parlato misread the Microsoft testimony. Keith never got the chance to prove he invented certain essential technology used to aid the whole world. His patent was stolen by Microsoft and AT&T. I wonder how many millions Toni Natalie was paid “under the table “ to hold those patents for the big boys. Someone should do a deep dove into her bank accounts. She probably has millions stashed away in Swiss banks. She is one wealthy lady. Look at the way she dresses when she goes to court. Designer outfits. Elegant jewelry. Where do you think she got that -ask Bill Gates.

    • Pea, do you really think the feds aren’t looking into everyone connected including Toni Natalie, Barb Bouchey? They don’t just take your word. They research everyone. These women were chased like dogs by vanguard and evil henchwoman Clare. If you know what you claim then explain what kind of man goes to no expense (literally) to chase down a woman because she leaves him? If you believe different, such as they ALL stole from him that makes him one of the unluckiest sods around. I’m also talking about the men he went after. If Keith is so ethical why did he have false information and hacking devices placed on ‘ enemy computer’s? At least give us the impression that you have considered other options about Keith. Have you genuinely looked into these cases or just taken his word?

    • Pea:
      Raniere was suing both AT&T and Microsoft over the teleconferencing patents.
      Both companies have Massive research institutions to document their endeavors.
      And many of the patents relating to teleconferencing belong to Doug Englebart, one of the greatest computer scientists of our time.
      If Keith invented teleconferencing, why does Doug Engelbart get credit?

      Doug designed modern computers as a whole. His work transformed the way people use computers. He is the father of modern computer technologies and the father of the internet.

      And they give Doug, not Keith, credit for inventing on-screen video teleconferencing and video conferencing. They give Doug credit for developing the use of computers on ARPAnet, the predecessor of today’s internet.

      Why didn’t Keith invent the internet?

      Doug developed shared screen collaboration, multiple windows, word processing, hypermedia, object addressing and dynamic file linking, and a collaborative real-time editor. He developed computer time sharing, network computing, graphical computing, the graphical user interface and hypertext links – by 1968.

      Two inventors, one a Vanguard, who is accused of lying to a federal judge about who owned a patent. The other a man who was the prophet of the way we do computing these days.

      Vanguard spent his whole life fucking women, enslaving them, cheating people out of their life savings, and suing people into oblivion through perjury.

      Doug spent his whole life trying to improve human knowledge and connecting inventors and scientists together. He never made them sign confidentiality agreements.

      Doug Engelbart honors include the National Medal of Technology, the Lemelson-MIT Prize and the Turing Award.

      Doug’s technology and approaches to computing were further developed at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, Apple Computer, Microsoft and elsewhere. Doug was so far ahead of his time, it took more than 20 years for Apple to figure out how to use the technology from XEROX, which had taken it from Doug.

      Keith sues anyone who shares any knowledge from anything he claims to have invented.

      Doug never sued anyone. He wanted this knowledge shared with the world.

      Doug Englebart has been compared to Leonardo DaVinci.

      Keith Raniere has been compared to Charlie Manson.


    • I laugh at you. I laugh at Shadowstate. I laugh really hard at anyone who takes either of your posts seriously. Like your chubby schlubby cross eyed leader would say (paraphrasing) he who laughs really hard has some joy. I hope your Vanguard enjoys the lunch meat du jour being served at Chez MDC tonight. No more Knife of Aristotle, but beware the Shiv of Salinas

  • Although Fiji, Libya, and other countries do not have explicit extradition treaties with the U.S., authorities in those countries can still decide to arrest and extradite accused criminals at their own discretion. Many surprised fugitives have discovered such realities after fleeing to Vietnam, Indonesia and other supposed “safe haven” countries. Although the NXIVM case has not been covered much by the mainstream media in the U.S., the case is well known enough to attract attention if Vantard and/or Bronfman flee. It not be surprising at all to see authorities eventually detain them overseas and ship them back, regardless of the existence of extradition treaties or not.

    • No doubt millions are stashed away hidden well.
      If Keith is released on bail, He and Clare will be out of
      Dodge quicker than you can say Giddyup.

  • Excellent article Frank. Will we, the general public be privy to watching him testify under oath and be cross examined? I will need time to prepare the popcorn.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com