This is the third 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 from Monterrey to Puerto Vallarta not to hide from the FBI but because he was worried about Sarah Edmondson and me.
Excerpts of Agnifilo’s arguments are in BOLD type. My comments in regular type.
[Raniere] hired a well- respected attorney, Michael Sullivan, the former United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts to interface with any governmental entities that may be investigating [him].
This makes it clear Raniere knew he was under investigation.
Mr. Sullivan openly communicated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of New York, thereby demonstrating Mr. Raniere had no intention of fleeing or hiding.
This is not demonstrating anything except perhaps that Raniere was setting up an alibi. He knew – from a December 21, 2017 story in the New York Times and from the Frank Report – and other publications – including those in Mexico – including Monterrey where he was living – that it was the Eastern District, not the Northern District, that was investigating him.
This is clear evidence of Mr. Raniere’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement.
Why then did his attorney contact the Northern District when the media reported it was the Eastern District?
For nearly two decades, people associated with ESP and Nxivm have been the targets of threats, computer-hacking and blatant (sic) false statements on websites and other media specifically to damage their reputations, business and lives.
Why, for two decades, has this peaceful, ethical man and his group been the targets of such animus and harassment? Did Raniere do anything to provoke any of it?
In the summer of 2017, before Mr. Raniere and the mother of his child went to Mexico to comply with her visa requirements, Nxivm became aware that the login credentials of former students, Sarah Edmondson, Jennifer Kobelt and J.O. were accessing Nxivm servers from Canada. These accounts deleted data, stole ESP student profiles and documentation and cancelled over $100,000 credit card payments.
The $100,000 in canceled credit card payments were from Vancouver people who wished to have their payments canceled. Do you know why? Because they found out that women were getting branded. These people were not prevented from paying NXIVM. They felt revulsion at what Raniere and his inner circle had done and wanted to quit. Anyone of them who wanted to reinstate payments was free to do so.
Anti-NXIVM press was and continues to be associated with a prolific blogger named Frank Parlato, who is currently under indictment in the Western District of New York.
Parlato is an active antagonist who has admitted time and again that he is obsessed with ruining Mr. Raniere and others supportive of the organization.
I never said I was obsessed with “ruining Mr. Raniere and others supportive of the organization.” I said I was determined to expose Raniere and prevent him from hurting others. I have been somewhat successful in helping to do that.
This obsession does not stop with posting photos of Mr. Raniere’s newborn baby.
There is only one photo of his baby. Here it is.
On multiple occasions, Parlato published the exact location of Mr. Raniere’s whereabouts in Monterrey, Mexico, and even published multiple photos of him walking his child in the daytime.
It is no wonder, then, that with the presence of this blogger posting Mr. Raniere’s daily whereabouts together with photographs of his four-month-old child, that Raniere would choose to leave Monterrey to protect his child.
Let us be clear: Agnifilo says that Keith Raniere left Monterrey because of me. He left Monterrey for Puerto Vallarta – but – let us be clear – this brave man left his baby and baby mamma behind! How ethical and noble he is. He left Albany to be with his baby but when I published his whereabouts, with him and his baby and baby mother, he left his baby and baby mother there – where I found him – and skedaddled by himself to Puerto Vallarta, where he just happened to have a $10,000 per week villa chock full of sex slaves waiting.
With a recent Nxivm server breach and misappropriation of electronic information, Mr. Raniere chose to use an encrypted email shortly after Sarah Edmondson’s story was published in The New York Times.
So he shifted to an encrypted email not to evade law enforcement but to avoid the threat of Sara Edmondson. And when was this “…recent NXIVM server breach”? Is Agnifilo referring to the alleged unauthorized accessing of NXIVM’s server by Toni Natalie, Joe O’Hara, and John Tighe back in 2011?
Rather than trying to evade law enforcement, Mr. Raniere chose a more secure location to reside, and an email server that could prevent hacking from a mobilized group of enemies who were ready and willing to hack in the past and willing to publicize their illegally seized information.
Mr. Raniere was arrested in a gated resort near Puerto Vallarta where he was on a vacation openly socializing with friends from Albany and different parts of Mexico.
Wait a minute, he “…went to a more secure location to reside” and he was “…openly socializing with friends on vacation?” That doesn’t make sense.
The friends were all together for the weeks leading up to “Holy Week” in Mexico.
Many of the Mexican families left the resort near Puerto Vallarta on March 25th to begin the Holy Week celebrations with their families and some guests stayed, including Mr. Raniere and guests from Albany.
Those guests were his sex slaves including Allison Mack, Nicki Clyne, Lauren Salzman, Loreta Garza, and his financier and slave, Clare Bronfman.
Mr. Raniere’s presence in the Puerto Vallarta area was simply to go on a vacation with his friends, many of whom he had not seen since leaving Albany in November 2017.
…the mother of his child and his child were in Puerta Vallarta beginning on March 16th and stayed with Mr. Raniere until March 25th, the day before Mr. Raniere’s arrest…. they left just a few hours earlier with friends so that their child could continue his language development at a school in Monterrey.
That means when he first left Puerto Vallarta – likely in late December or early January, he left his baby and baby mamma alone for about two and half months. Although he went to Mexico he said because he wanted to be with his baby and baby mother, of the four and half months he was in Mexico, he was with them for less than half the time there.
Because companions and others from Albany were still vacationing in the Puerto Vallarta resort, Mr. Raniere stayed behind and planned to join the mother of his child and his child later.
He used encrypted email. He had his attorney call the wrong US Attorney. The FBI came to Monterrey looking for him and he did not contact them or have his attorney contact them and he spent less than half the time he was down there with his son.
Mr. Raniere was not attempting to evade law enforcement.
Maybe not, but it seems like he was.
Here is what Judge Garaufis said in June and I am not sure what is new in this second bail package that is going to change his mind:
“Defendant’s history and characteristics strongly support the conclusion that he is a flight risk…First, the court finds that it is more likely than not that Defendant moved to Mexico last fall at least partly to elude law enforcement. Despite having little history of international travel. Defendant relocated to Mexico soon after attention turned to his alleged activities in connection with Nxivm and DOS. The Government avers that, while in Mexico, Defendant also began using end-to-end encrypted email and stopped using his phone. As a result, the Government avers, it took a month and a half for authorities to track Defendant down.
“Defendant has innocent explanations for his change of scenery and behavior. He avers that he traveled to Mexico last October to be with his child and with the child’s mother when her U.S. visa expired…While he admits to using different phones and email addresses, he states that he did so not to evade authorities but to evade an anti-Nxivm group that he says harassed him for years…Finally, he contends that the Government was, or should have been, aware of his location because …”his attorney left a phone number with the Department of Justice on two occasions by which he could be reached.”…
“These explanations are not persuasive. While it may be the case that Defendant traveled briefly to Mexico in October to be with the mother of his child in Monterrey, that does not explain why he traveled back to Mexico the following month—or why, when he did, he moved hundreds of miles away, to Puerto Vallarta…If Defendant had been seeking to avoid anti-Nxivm activists, not the Government, it is not clear why he would have stopped using his phone entirely, as the court is not aware of how the former would have the ability to track Defendant’s phone. That Defendant’s attorney left a callback number with prosecutors does not imply that Defendant was forthcoming with authorities about his location…”In any event, this explanation rings false., as defendant’s motion indicates that the mother of his child lives in or near Monterrey, but Monterrey is hundreds of miles from Puerto Vallarta. The Court is skeptical of defendant’s explanation that he began using fully encrypted email and stopped using his phone to evade Nxivm critics, not law enforcement, as the Court is not aware how the former could have the ability to track his phone.”
I suspect that Raniere is not getting out anytime soon. But if he does, he won’t make a run this time for Mexico. He will take it on the lamb to a country that won’t arrest and deport him – if the price is right.
I believe Judge Garaufis is motivated by an earnest attempt at justice and is a believer in due process – which includes the concept that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Raniere, at this point, in the eyes of the law, is innocent.
However, the previous bail package included armed guards to watch Raniere, 24/7 in NYC. The judge denied that application. The new bail package does not have guards – and is in Clifton Park, where Raniere has many devoted supporters. He could simply walk out the door and be aided by any number of nearby friends.
He could be on a private jet quicker than one could say – Viva Executive Success!
If the Judge grants bail to Raniere, an alleged sex-trafficking cult leader that both the government and Pre-Trial Supervision have warned is a flight risk, and Raniere flees, this honorable Judge will get the brunt of the blame. He will be the headline of every media outlet that has ever written a word about the NXIVM sex cult.
That is unfortunate, for no judge is omniscient, and any judge can make a mistake, and probably every experienced judge at least once in a career granted bail to a defendant who skipped. But in a high profile case like this – with all the facts militating against Raniere – how does he let Raniere out of prison? How does he take that chance?
He almost has to err, if he errs at all, on the side of caution. It is perhaps unfair. Maybe Raniere might not run, but should he release Raniere and Raniere flees [which I believe he will] the judge will take the fall for Raniere.
And that’s not right. Enough people already have taken the fall for Raniere.