No Joy In Mudville As Mighty Vanguard Strikes Out Again!
Just like the proverbial batter named Casey who had trouble hitting the ball when the game was on the line, the mighty man who likes to be called The Vanguard – but whose real name is Keith Alan Raniere – keeps striking out in his attempt to be released from prison while he is awaiting trial.
But, just like Casey, the little guy may get more at-bats before this particular ballgame is over.
In what can only be seen as
a soul-crushing defeat – sorry, I forgot I was talking about Raniere – a spirit-crushing defeat – for the little fella, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis has denied Raniere’s latest request to be released on bail pending his trial on a variety of criminal charges.
Raniere’s trial – which will include his five current co-defendants (Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman, and Nancy Salzman) plus any others who are included in subsequent superseding indictments – is currently scheduled to start on March 18, 2019.
Las Vegas bookmakers have put the odds on that being the actual start date for the trial at .000000001% – which, oddly enough, are the same odds they put on Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares ever getting elected again.
In a 15-page Memorandum & Order that was issued earlier today, Judge Garaufis reviewed all the pertinent facts in the case – beginning, of course, with the list of pending charges against Raniere:
- Racketeering conspiracy – which includes the predicate acts of conspiracy to commit identity theft, conspiracy to alter records for use in an official proceeding, forced labor, trafficking and document servitude, extortion, and sex trafficking);
- Conspiracy to cause another to engage in forced labor;
- Wire fraud conspiracy;
- Sex trafficking conspiracy;
- Sex trafficking
- Identity theft conspiracy.
He also noted that Raniere smelled really bad. Just kidding – although Raniere does smell really bad, Judge Garaufis did not note that in his Memorandum & Order.
Judge Garaufis did note, however, that “Raniere has compared himself to Socrates in that he challenges Nxivm participants to ‘question, rather than blindly accept, the fundamental content of their lives’” – and that Raniere “…claims to have had success treating people suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome”.
The bail motion that led to Judge Garaufis’ latest ruling was presented to the court on November 14, 2018. An earlier bail motion had been denied based on the judge’s finding that Raniere was a flight risk.
Raniere’s latest bail motion included the following proposed terms and conditions:
- – He would sign a $1 million bond;
- The bond would be secured by three properties – with the owners of those properties signing the bond (Per the government’s estimate, the total unmortgaged equity in the three properties is less than $170,000)
- Several other people – none of whom have been identified as of yet – would also sign the bond
- He would be on home confinement in Clifton Park, NY – and monitored by a GPS device
- He would not communicate with anyone except for his attorneys unless his attorneys were present for those communications
- He would have access to a computer in order to review the evidence against him but he would not have access to the internet
- He would surrender his passport and agree not to seek new travel documents.
After reviewing all the applicable legal standards for the granting of bail in cases like this, the judge then looked at all the new evidence that Raniere had submitted to overcome the statutory assumption that he is a flight risk. As noted by the judge, this included a 25-minute video “…that purportedly demonstrates the value of Nxivm’s Rational Inquiry system, particularly for people affected with Tourette’s Syndrome.”
Next, the judge looked at the factors which suggested bail should be denied. Chief among these is the fact that Raniere has been charged with three offenses that “…carry maximum sentences of at least 20 years in prison.”
He also noted that although Raniere has claimed that the government possesses critical exculpatory evidence regarding the sex trafficking charge, he “…has made no similar claims about the Government’s evidence regarding the racketing conspiracy, forced-labor conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and identity theft conspiracy charges against him…”.
Finally, the judge noted that the original reasons he found Raniere to be a flight risk are still applicable:
- He likely moved to Mexico last fall and stopped using his phone at least partly to evade law enforcement
- He apparently has access to extensive financial resources supplied by anonymous parties;
- He lacks personal wealth or an ordinary job that could secure a meaningful bond
- He is accused of running an organization with a number of devoted adherents who could help him flee.
As the judge succinctly noted: “Put simply, he did not behave like someone willing to work with law enforcement”.
Which is not entirely true because Raniere has done quite well for himself when he’s had law enforcement officials working for him over the years. It’s just that he really doesn’t trust any law enforcement official that he can’t bribe or entrap.
So, once again, the mighty Vanguard has struck out.
But like a cat playing with a half-dead mouse Judge Garaufis concluded his Memorandum & Order by noting that “As it remains conceivable that Raniere could address the court’s concerns, this denial is without prejudice to refiling a revised bail package.”
Seriously, he may not be the world’s smartest man but even Raniere can’t be dumb enough to do this a third time.
Or could he?
I know it’s asking for way too much and it’s not likely going to happen but it’s almost Christmas – which is the time of year when we all get to ask for the presents of our dreams. And for me this year, I just have one request: Please, Santa, have Judge Garaufis play that 25-minute videotape in court tomorrow – and make all those ass-clown defense attorneys sit there and watch the drivel they submitted for him to review. Just give me that – and you can keep the puppy and the pony!