This is the second part of my rebuttal to Keith Raniere’s bail package.
Marc Agnifilo, Keith Raniere’s attorney, made an argument in his second bail bond motion that Raniere went to Mexico, not to flee from the jurisdiction of federal court, but because he wanted to be with his baby son and the mother of his son.
Excerpts of Agnifilo’s arguments are in BOLD type. My comments are in regular type.
Nxivm …. challenges … existing belief systems, and even what it means to believe something.
NXIVM teachings normally confuse followers so that they tend to not know what they believe, except that they believe in Vanguard. However, even a Nxian might find it hard to believe Raniere went to Mexico for any other reason than to hide from the law.
Mr. Raniere … does not pose … a risk of flight.
AUSA Moira Penza, at the last bail bond hearing in June, said to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, “Your Honor… we do believe that the risk of flight is significant in this case.”
Judge Garaufis agreed. He said in June, “The Court finds that the government has shown that the defendant is a flight risk.”
There is no basis to believe he will do anything but fight this case, in keeping with his character.
We’re talking about a man charged with sex trafficking, who knowingly had women branded with his initials. A man who consistently lied to women over the years about being monogamous, telling them – they were number 1 and that the other women around him were merely his students; telling those who desired motherhood that they would have an avatar baby with him. None of these women had children with him. All of them found out sooner or later that he cheated on them. Some of them left and some of them stayed. This cannot possibly be the mark of a man of character.
Mr. Raniere did not flee the United States for Mexico.
Mr. Raniere did not leave the country because of The New York Times article, but rather came back into the country the day the story was published.
No one knew in advance what day the New York Times story would be published. That was a decision made by the editors of the New York Times. It was based in part on the news of the day. The story had been written and filed. It had gone through legal. It was not “spot” news.
The New York Times held the NXIVM story until the time there was a “news hole” in the print edition suitable for this story. It was to be a front-page story. Raniere had no way of knowing when the Times story would be published, when he came back from his three-day trip to Mexico. On the evening he returned, the story appeared online. It appeared in print the following day.
He stayed in Albany until November 10, 2017 to be at his deceased long-time partner, Pamela Cafritz’s home on November 7, 2017, the one-year anniversary of her passing.
I find it hard to believe Raniere came back from Mexico, or stayed in Albany longer, to be on hand for the one year anniversary of Pam Cafritz’s death. He inherited her estate and, on or about the day she died, if you count nine months from her death, to the day his baby was born, he was having sex with Mariana and got her pregnant.
I suspect he had other reasons for coming back to Albany on October 17, 2017. He stayed for three weeks and four days. It may be that he originally planned to return to Albany and stay, as he had for 30 years. Maybe he meant to leave his baby mamma and kid down in Mexico. He returned to Albany, however, to be greeted with the bombshell NY Times story – followed by a lot more media attention.
His followers must have been in a state of shock and fear. There was worse to follow. Within three weeks, with news stories popping up almost daily, including in the local hometown paper – the Albany Times Union – there was scrutiny on his group like there had never been before.
The scrutiny – and the shocking allegations caught the attention of the FBI – not in the Northern District – which had overlooked Ranier’s criminal enterprise for years – but in New York City – the Eastern District. They began interviewing people. News like that spreads fast. NXIVM is a network and a lot of people – even those who have left speak to those who are still in. He heard about it. It is not disputed he knew the FBI was looking at him. He retained an attorney to help check out what the nature of this investigation was about.
I doubt he planned to leave Albany for Mexico much in advance. I suspect he assessed the situation as dire – for him – hopped on a plane and vamoosed.
Mr. Raniere traveled back to Mexico to be with his three-month-old son who was with the mother as she was awaiting a new visa. Mr. Raniere traveled back to Monterrey, Mexico, to be with them.
I don’t buy it. I personally doubt he left his organization, and all the people who depended on him, at this crisis moment in NXIVM – with worldwide media condemning them – to be with his son and baby mamma. They were likely safe in Mexico- which is her native country. They had many friends in Mexico; people who would be only too glad to help the mother of Vanguard’s child if she needed it. He had all the money he needed between Bronfman and Cafritz money.
But there was grave danger to his organization in Albany.
Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, takes great pains to describe this Socratic leader – who cares so much about respect and love – and yet at the first whiff of trouble – real trouble – he leaves the people of NXIVM behind – the ones who paid to attend his 10-day birthday celebration [called Vanguard Week] – to face the challenges alone – and he and his wealthy heiress, Clare Bronfman, flew on a private jet, off to Mexico.
He left to be with his baby son? He showed no similar solicitude for his first known child – Gaelyn – who was born in 2006. At that time, Raniere lied to followers, telling them this child was a foundling, whose father was unknown and whose mother died at childbirth.
When things were going well – back in 2007, when he had all the Bronfman money he could spend and all the women he could handle, he denied the paternity of his first son. He told the NXIVM community a lie about his parentage. He forced the mother of his child to lie and say her own child was not hers but adopted.
In the long litany of Raniere’s unethical behavior, this one galls me perhaps the most. Consider the awful, psychologically destructive impact to the child this could have: the boy grows up – with all the people around him – and himself – believing he is adopted and his mother died while giving birth.
When all the time, his mother is not dead but raising him, and his father lives nearby and is the leader of the community in which he lives.
I was there. I witnessed it. I saw the child many times. I heard this lie told many times. I did not know it was a lie then. I remember feeling sorry for the child and how, when he grew up, it would be with the consciousness that he had obtained life as his mother lost hers. But right before the community was his mother taking care of him [living a lie] and being forced to lie to everyone – to protect Raniere, so that he would not lose some of his followers who believed he was celibate, and some of the choice women he promised that he would father for them an avatar baby.
Sometime later, he admitted the child was his son, but only after the mother fled with Gaelyn.
In a letter to the court, in one of their many lawsuits, NXIVM attorney Robert Crockett told the court that the mother was in hiding as the result of a custody dispute with Raniere involving her son, Gaelyn.
In 2014, the New York State Police arranged a series of safe houses for mother and child to stay and moved them out of the Northeast. The mother has full, sole legal custody of Gaelyn. The reason for that is that Keith was not on the birth certificate.
The mother fled, she said, because she was concerned about Gaelyn’s welfare. The mother said, “Keith was experimenting on him. I had to get Gaelyn away.”
Fast forward to November 2017. This ethical, brave, honorable, loving man, left his followers alone at the worst moment in NXIVM history – when the media is condemning them and the FBI is investigating – to go to Mexico to be with his youngest son.
When the organization – this noble organization – needed its leader to shine and lead, he fled. We are to believe that Keith left for Mexico not because he was under criminal investigation and likely to be charged and arrested in the USA, but to be with his baby son.
When things were tough, Raniere left his followers, and went to Mexico to be with his son?
I don’t believe it.
Stay tuned for Part 3…
And in the meantime, to the guards at MDC: Guard our Vanguard well.