Who Will Testify On Behalf Of The Defense?

Keith Alan Raniere

Assuming the case of the U.S. v. Raniere Et Al starts, as currently scheduled, on April 29th – and assuming that the prosecution is able to present its case in the 5-6 weeks it has been estimated that portion of the trial will take – we could be seeing the start of the defense portion of the case sometime in mid-June.

But, depending on what’s in the next superseding indictment, the start of the trial could easily get pushed back.

Such a delay is almost inevitable if the next superseding indictment contains any new defendants. (It most certainly will contain additional charges against one or more of the current defendants).

But at some point, the trial is going to get underway – and at some point, the defense will have the opportunity to call witnesses.

Let’s not forget from our “Primer” on federal trials that defendants do not have put on any case at all.

They can simply declare that the prosecution has not proven that the defendants committed any criminal acts “beyond a reasonable doubt” – and bypass this portion of the trial.

But given the mountain of evidence that the prosecution will likely present during its portion of the case – and given the show-dogs that are heading up the defense teams for Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman – it seems extremely unlikely that the defense will not present some type of case.

And so the question becomes: WHO WILL THE DEFENSE CALL AS WITNESSES?

Well, at a minimum, the defense will likely call one or more “expert witnesses” to offset the testimony of Dr. Michael Welner, a clinical and forensic psychiatrist who has been described as “…one of North America’s top practitioners of forensic psychiatry”.

So, let’s figure that the defense will call at least one or two “expert witnesses” to explain that NXIVM/ESP is just a training program that is intended to help human beings maximize their full potential – and that DOS is just an adult sex club that allows its members to explore different aspects of their sexuality.

So, once the “expert witnesses” have testified, who does the defense call next to the witness stand?

Will it be some members of DOS who will explain that they were just part of a group of “bad-ass bitches” who were trying to help empower women?

And if so, will some of those “bad-ass bitches” be testifying remotely from Mexico because they’re unwilling to testify in person out of fear that they will be arrested as soon as they set foot on U.S. soil?

And after the jury has heard from the “bad-ass bitches”, who will the defense call next?

Although none of the defendants are obligated to testify, will any of them do so anyway?

In an earlier post, I pointed out that many defense attorneys prefer that their clients not testify at trial out of concern that they will not hold up very well under the scrutiny of the jury – and the cross-examination of the prosecution.

As Mark Twain once said: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt”.

But since he is the self-proclaimed “smartest man in the world”, Keith Raniere is not bound by the norms that apply to those beneath him.

And what did Mark Twain ever accomplish anyway?

So, it seems inevitable that Raniere AKA The Vanguard AKA Federal Prisoner 57005-177 will take the witness stand – and attempt to explain away all the evidence that has been presented to suggest that he operated a multi-national crime syndicate that engaged in all sorts of crimes such as:
– Racketeering Conspiracy;
– Identity Theft;
– Altering Official Records;
– Encouraging and Inducing Illegal Entry;
– Encouraging and Inducing Money Laundering;
– Forced Labor;
– Sex Trafficking;
– Extortion; and
– Wire Fraud.

Given his prior accomplishments, that should actually be a pretty easy task for The Vanguard.

Lest we forget, this is a man who has extraordinary powers – and who has already accomplished phenomenal feats.

Even setting aside all of Raniere’s bullshit claims about his intelligence, athletic skills, and business accomplishments, you do have to give him credit for:

– Bilking Clare and Sara Bronfman of out millions upon millions of their inherited funds – and causing numerous men and women to go broke taking his training courses;

– Conning numerous women into having sex with an undersized, unwashed, unable-to-perform man with square feet – and being OK with the fact that they were just part of his harem and could never have sex with any other man ever again;

– Concocting a scheme that would, according to his lead attorney, Marc Agnifilo, convince 150 young women to have Raniere’s initials branded on their pussies;

– Convincing numerous women to abandon their children and husbands – and to devote themselves to his service;

– Getting trained medical professionals to abandon their professional oaths – and to perform illegal experiments and procedures that could cost them their licenses; and

– Getting parents to enroll their children in his unaccredited and totally uncredentialed Rainbow Cultural Garden program instead of normal schools.

So, there is little doubt that The Vanguard will take the stand.

The only question is whether he still wields enough influence over any of his co-defendants that they will do the same.

My estimates on that happening haven’t changed. They’re still:
– Allison Mack: 50%
– Clare Bronfman: 0%
– Nancy Salzman: 20%
– Lauren Salzman: 20%
– Kathy Russell: 0%


Just a quick note on when the trial might start if it is, in fact, postponed from its current start date of April 29th.

Given Judge Garaufis’ preferences (e.g., only 4 trial days per week; no trials during the summer; no trials during holiday periods; etc.), it seems that the next two possible dates for the start of the trial would be: September 3, 2019 and January 6, 2020.

About the author

K.R. Claviger


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  • We may delude ourselves thinking we are finally, well, close to, being rid of Keith when, VIOLA!

    Keith act-alikes exist all over the globe.

    He has done one better than Christ or Buddha being reborn in many forms.

    As we speak, or better yet, as I type, in lovely Queensland, AU, exists Yeshua Ben Joseph.

    Go, see, Google, watch this guy on youtube. Notice the similarities.

    Surprised? Don’t be. The technique works. Ask a used car salesman if it doesn’t work. Thing is, buying a used car, you knew what you were going in for and what the salesman’s agenda was.

    With Keith and his doppelgangers, you don’t realize it till it’s too late.

    Everyone, and keep this in mind, is trying to sell you something.

    Buyer beware. You may end up losing not just your freedom but your life.

    Ms. Mack’s life, as she once knew it, is gone.

    Pam lost her life using Keith’s tech to treat her cancer.

    I need not list them all for they are burned into our memories by now.

    I hope Keith insists on testifying. The same for Clare. Allison will appear the very fool if she allows herself to be cross-examined yet, allow her to do so.

    Keith will use his high IQ to impress.

    Clare will lie, as usual.

    I do hope NXIVM dies, never to be resurrected in various forms. One may argue, as many do with Scientology, there is some good to be got from NXIVM tech.

    That is a false premise.

    Too much harm has come about to too many because of NXIVM philosophy.

    There is not one jot, not one tittle, that is redeemable about the cult of NXIVM.

    Let it be ground into dust.

  • Krclaviger,

    “The Wheels of Justice turn slowly but exceedingly fine.”

    Keith Raniere will be like wheat ground into very fine flour by the the time of his sentencing if the trial takes an extended amount of time. He will be a hollowed out husk of man.

    Side note: Krclaviger, I bet you that the defense will ask the potential jurors if they have ever visited the Frankreport website. I will even give you odds. 😉

    • They probably wouldn’t be that specific. A more general question would be asked regarding whether they have heard of NXIVM on social media, news, and other websites. Asking them if they had been on Frank Report would cause so much curiousity that would get out their phone while visiting the courtroom bathroom and take a look.

        • Frank has done an excellent job collecting information about Nxivm that both the prosecution and defense have mentioned the Frankreport in court documents and or have publicly acknowledged the Frankreport.

  • The defense could also bring in various students who just took a course or two and got something beneficial out of the program. This would make NXIVM look more “normal.”

    • Tex2,

      You are such an excellent legal pundit, bringing in a student that took a one week would would make so much sense. What a great character witness the student would make.

      Maybe the defense should use a taxi driver that once gave Keith Raniere a ride as a character witness as well? LOL

      Who needs krclaviger when we have Scott/Tex2?


  • I don’t think Vanguard will testify on his own behalf.

    I’m sure his defense team will bring in an outside attorney to play the role of a ‘mock’ prosecutor (just like OJ Simpson’s team did) in order to TEAR HIM APART in a ‘mock’ cross examination from prison.

    This will be done to show Keith just how bad he’ll look (in front of a jury) when certain questions are asked by prosecutors.

    Using an outside attorney is necessary since he’ll hate that person after they tear him apart.

    However, assuming Claviger is correct and Keith does testify then I’m wondering what types of ‘impeachment’ witnesses will be allowed afterward?

    Seeing that I’m not an attorney and don’t know the rules for admissible impeachment witnesses, maybe Claviger could write an article telling us what types of impeachment witnesses could be called IF Keith decided to testify.

    For instance… Can the prosecutor attempt to impeach his veracity or character by asking him if he’s ever had sex with underage girls as an adult (just to force Keith to deny it under cross examination) — so they can later bring forth witnesses like Rhiannon (or other people with first hand knowledge that he’s lying) to ‘impeach’ his credibility on this issue?

    Or is that not admissible because he’s not being charged with that particular crime?

    If Keith chooses to go on the witness stand, wouldn’t that open him up to lots of extra ‘impeachment’ witnesses that otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to testify?

    Convictions for previous crimes aren’t necessary for merely ‘impeaching’ a witness statement as either true or false, right?

    If I’m mistaken, please tell us how that would work.

    Even if prosecutors are forbidden from asking Keith about his fondness for underage sex, there’s still a TON of unflattering questions they can ask him to make him look very bad in front of the jury. …And when Keith lies in his answers to those questions, the prosecutor will be able to impeach his testimony by calling other witnesses.

    Thus, I don’t see how Keith can realistically testify.

    Narcissism isn’t enough to make him commit judicial suicide.

    OJ Simpson was the ultimate narcissist who thought he could outsmart a jury by testifying on his own behalf. However, his own defense team used a ‘mock’ cross examination to prove it was a bad idea. …And it worked too, since OJ changed his mind and didn’t testify. I believe the same will happen for Keith.

    • *Plus there’s another relevant issue that has nothing to do with underage sex.

      If Keith takes the witness stand on his own behalf, the issue of ‘coerced sex’ or ‘forced sex’ will be relevant for the prosecution to ask him about (i.e. the prosecutor can ask if he’s ever ‘coerced’ or ‘forced’ a woman to have sex against her will).

      Therefore when he answers ‘no’ — wouldn’t that allow the prosecutor to call Rhiannon as a witness to impeach his untruthful answer to that question?

      Even though he wasn’t convicted of any crimes against Rhiannon, isn’t she still able to at least ‘impeach’ his veracity for the jury?

      • The crime you describe with Rhiannon is called statutory rape. The issues of “forced” or “coerced” don’t apply. All that matters is the issue of penetration, because she was a minor at the time.

        • Tex2 and Bangkok,

          Tex2 as usual is only partially right.

          The following article is a good explanation of the law regarding Rape and Statutory Rape.

          Punishment for Rape and Statutory Rape

          Statutory rape is punished much less harshly compared to rape because the law recognizes that statutory rape typically involves willingness by the victim. Unlike rape, statutory rape can be charged as misdemeanor or a felony. How you will be charged depends upon the circumstances of your case.

          The penalties for statutory rape range from less than one year in county jail to a maximum of four years in state prison.

          On the other hand, rape is punished more severely because it is always committed against the will of the victim. Rape is a felony offense, and it typically is considered a “violent crime.” It carries a sentence of up to eight years in state prison.

          • There is nothing in that unreferenced article that is in conflict with what I stated. You truly have no clue. You are acluistic.

        • TEX2

          Your comment “makes no technical difference”‘, is technically wrong.

          You should not correct anyone if you possess zero knowledge of what you’re commenting about,
          You keep trying to split hairs that don’t exist, rather than admit your wrong.

          Your hubris and ignorance are not virtues, there just sad reminders of what a petty fool you are.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com