Police report that the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn received a bomb threat call at nearly 10:30 a.m. today. It forced the evacuation of visitors and lawyers on Monday morning, a high-ranking police source said. But prisoners, including prisoner number 57-17705, AKA Keith Alan Raniere, remain behind bars.
It is not known if Raniere’s attorneys were at MDC conferring with Raniere who is due in court for a status conference on Wednesday when all visitors were told to evacuate the building.
The bomb threat came less than 24 hours after electricity and heat were restored to the facility – on Sunday at 6:30 pm – after a week of being out of service following a fire.
During the past week, prisoners were held in the cold and in the dark and not served hot food. Some complained they were unable to get enough blankets and warm clothes. The temperature according to Raniere’s attorney was 44 degrees inside the facility.
Public awareness of the cold, dark prison was enhanced following a filing by Keith Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, seeking his release on bail because of the unpleasant conditions at MDC.
About 200 protesters showed up at the facility over the past weekend to bring attention to the plight of prisoners.
The bomb threat came in around 10:30 a.m. — prompting authorities to search MDC. Police don’t believe the threat is credible, a high-ranking police source told the New York Post.
In addition to Raniere, more than 1,600 inmates are lodged at MDC, some of them awaiting trial and others awaiting sentencing in this high-security federal prison (There are also about 150 “Cadre” prisoners who are actually serving their sentences – or a portion of their sentences – at MDC)..
How these recent events at MDC will impact Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis’ decision whether to release Raniere on bail and home detention is not definitely known – but I would hazard a guess that it will not impact it even slightly. Were he to do so, the judge may be setting a precedent that every other prisoner at MDC would seek to exploit for their benefit.
While Agnifilo robustly complained on Friday about Raniere’s suffering in Brooklyn because he was without heat and electricity – by Sunday, heat and lights were restored, thus making the complaint moot even before the judge had a chance to review the filing. Happily, Agnifilo was able to bill several good hours in drafting the filing.
This brings the argument back to the original motion for bail – which is whether Raniere is a flight risk and a danger to the community. The judge previously ruled on two separate occasions that he is.
A week of cold and darkness – now corrected – is not likely to change the judge’s previous decision.
Rumors that Keith’s giant brain caused the electrical fire – and could set off a bomb – seem to have been largely discounted by prison authorities who claim there is no bomb, and the cause of the fire had nothing to do with Raniere, who is known by fellow prisoners as Crybaby Jane because of his penchant for sobbing openly when bullied by fellow prisoners – his expert judo skills notwithstanding.
Coincidentally or not, MDC, which has always been rather a chamber of horrors, is getting more than its fair share of attention since the Vanguard encamped here.
Today, a group of lawyers filed a lawsuit over the “humanitarian crisis” at MDC. The Federal Defenders of New York says inmates at MDC have been subjected to “inhumane” conditions in direct violation of their constitutional rights. The suit is filed against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Warden Herman Quay and accuses the feds of being “slow to acknowledge the problem”, not taking “sufficient steps to obtain temporary supplies of electricity or heat, or repair the damage” and issuing “misleading statements” to the public.
In addition to Raniere’s complaint, Matthew Madonna, the boss of the Lucchese crime family who is awaiting trial, also filed a complaint.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the DOJ to investigate, calling the frigid, dark conditions a “violation of human decency and dignity.”
Viva Executive Success!