Several readers have raised questions about what, if anything, will happen to the “little guys and gals” in NXIVM who participated, at least in some small way, in the Raniere/Bronfman crime syndicate.
– Like people who collected extremely personal information by conducting brutally intrusive “Explorations of Meaning” (EMs) on NXIVM students who were later targeted by Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman, or members of NXIVM’s High-Rank.
– Or the people who helped convince erstwhile students who were broke to run up huge credit card debt in order to take more NXIVM training sessions.
– Or the people who drove around, on a regular basis, throughout the Capital District area, to pick up the cash and pre-paid credit cards that were being mailed to a series of Post Office boxes by members of NXIVM’s operations in Mexico.
– Or the people who “muled” cash from Mexico over the border to the U.S. – then gave it to Nancy Salzman or her designee.
– Or the people whose job it was to sort through the materials that NXIVM’s IT staff stole off of computers of people targeted by Raniere.
– Or the people who housed illegal nannies who worked for Rainbow Cultural Garden.
– Or the people who housed one or more foreign NXIVM members who stayed in the U.S. after their visas had run out.
– Or the people who participated in sham marriages so that a foreign member of NXIVM could obtain a green card.
– Or the people who didn’t bother reporting income they received from NXIVM.
– Or the people who allowed their names to be used to set up shell companies, some of which were used to launder money.
– Or the people who lied to the New York State Police about where the server hosting NXIVM’s website was located so that criminal charges could be brought against Joe O’Hara, Toni Natalie and John Tighe.
– Or the various public officials who were bribed or blackmailed into turning their backs on NXIVM’s criminal activities – and, in a few cases, even aided and abetted NXIVM in the commission of crimes.
– Or the lawyers who abandoned their professional ethics – and in some cases broke the law – in carrying out Raniere’s directives on legal matters.
– Or the numerous others who did something illegal to help the Raniere/Bronfman crime syndicate..
What, if anything, is going to happen to those “little guys and gals”?
The answer is probably not much.
The reason why most of the “little guys and gals” won’t get prosecuted is simply a matter of the limited resources the Feds have to assign to any one case. In this case, the U.S. Attorney has assigned three Assistant U.S. Attorneys: Moira Kim Penza, Tanya Hajjar, and Karin K. Orenstein.
That’s a big commitment of resources – especially when you take into consideration that this case may not be over for another 12-18 months.
Another factor to take into consideration is how much more complicated a case becomes every time new defendants or new charges are added.
I doubt the prosecution wants the case to get so unwieldy that a jury won’t be able to keep all the facts straight – and, because of that, ends up acquitting people.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys I have consulted about this case think the maximum safe number of defendants to prosecute is 10-12.
If that’s true, there are at least 4-6 more that may be charged – but lots of potential defendants who will not be charged.
Of course, there is an option that could permit the prosecution of lower-level members of the Bronfman-Raniere crime syndicate. The EDNY could permit the Northern District of New York (NDNY) to prosecute lower lower-level members.
Jurisdiction would not be a problem since most crimes involving the “little guys and gals” did, in fact, take place in the Northern District. And the NDNY has enough resources to put together an investigation/prosecution team to handle the additional cases that would be heard in Albany, NY and/or Syracuse, NY.
There is a challenge to doing this, however. The NDNY did absolutely nothing for almost two decades to stop the build-up of the NXIVM crime syndicate. This has raised questions about the capability and the integrity of its leaders and staff The fact that several whistleblowers went to the NDNY during that time period to provide information and hard evidence about NXIVM’s illegal activities only deepens concerns that the NDNY did not want to stop the NXIVM crime syndicate for reasons unknown.
There is, however, one way the Feds could utilize the resources of the NDNY – and still ensure that local investigations and prosecutions are properly carried out. And that’s to appoint an independent Special Prosecutor from some other geographic location to oversee the handling of the cases that would be prosecuted in the Northern District.
Perhaps it is a little far-fetched, but such a Special Prosecutor could use those NDNY staff who were not part of the prior decision to stay out of NXIVM’s affairs.
Then the little criminals would be prosecuted in separate trials in the Northern District – with charges narrowly tailored to fit the crimes they committed – as opposed to a large and unwieldy RICO case – all lumped together in the EDNY’s prosecution of the High-Rank members.
Will the NDNY get involved? Time will tell. But if they don’t, my prediction is that many of the “little guys and gals” will not be charged.
Maybe that is – or is not – a form of justice.