Motions Galore – Defendants Make Last Ditch Efforts To Avoid Trial

Last Friday saw a plethora of motions being filed on behalf of all the remaining defendants in the case of the U.S. v. Raniere Et Al.

In part, this is because the second superseding indictment required that all the previously-filed-but-unresolved motions be re-filed to conform with the language of the second superseding indictment.

But this was also pretty much the last chance for the defendants to request rulings that, if granted, might give them a reasonable chance to win at trial (There will still be some Motions In Limine filed before the start of the trial but they will likely be on much less important matters than Friday’s motions).

The EDNY’s 97% conviction rate in criminal trials is starting to loom larger and larger as the days dwindle down to the start of the trial that is currently scheduled to begin on April 29th.

But if, as expected, the vast majority of the new motions are dismissed, then the plea deal negotiations will heat up very quickly.

*****

So, let’s see if we can make sense out of the hundreds of pages of filings that hit the PACER system on Friday…

Before we can do that, however, we need to create a “cheat sheet” concerning the second superseding indictment that we can refer to when we’re trying to understand what’s going on with all these filings.

So, here’s my “cheat sheet” with respect to the second superseding indictment:

Count One: Racketeering Conspiracy: Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman, & Others
The pattern of activity through which the defendants, together with others, agreed to conduct and participate, directly and indirectly, in the conduct of the affairs of the Enterprise consisted of multiple acts indictable under:
   (A) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028 (Identification Document Fraud and Identification Document Fraud Conspiracy – and Identity Theft and Identity Theft Conspiracy);
   (B) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 (Wire Fraud);
   (C) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512 (Obstruction of Justice – and Obstruction of Justice Conspiracy);
   (D) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1546 (Visa Fraud);
   (E) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1589 (Forced Labor);
   (F) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1590 (Trafficking in Persons);
   (G) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591 (Sex Trafficking);
   (H) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1592 (Document Servitude);
   (I) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1952 (Interstate and Foreign Travel in Aid of Racketeering);
   (J) Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956 and 1957 (Money Laundering and Money Laundering Conspiracy);
   (K) Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251 (Child Exploitation); and
   (L) Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252 (Possession of Child Pornography), and multiple acts involving extortion, in violation of New York Penal Law Sections 155.30(6) and 20.00.

Count Two: Racketeering: Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman, & Others
Racketeering Act One
        (1) Conspiracy To Commit Identity Theft Regarding Jane Doe 1 (Keith Raniere & Others)
        (2) Conspiracy To Unlawfully Possess Identification Document (Keith Raniere & Others)

Racketeering Act Two
        (1) Sexual Exploitation Of A Child – Jane Doe 2 (Keith Raniere)

Racketeering Act Three
       (1) Sexual Exploitation Of A Child – Jane Doe 2 (Keith Raniere)

Racketeering Act Four
       (1) Possession Of Child Pornography (Keith Raniere)

Racketeering Act Five
       (1) Conspiracy To Commit Identity Theft (Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman & Others)
       (2) Identity Theft Regarding John Doe 1 (Keith Raniere & Others)
       (3) Identity Theft Regarding John Doe 2 (Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman & Others)

Racketeering Act Six
        (1) Conspiracy To Alter Records For Use In An Official Proceeding (Keith Raniere & Others)

Racketeering Act Seven
        (1) Conspiracy To Commit Identity Theft Regarding Jane Doe 3 (Keith Raniere & Others)

Racketeering Act Eight
       (1) Money Laundering (Clare Bronfman & Others)

Racketeering Act Nine
       (1) Trafficking Of Jane Doe 4 For Labor And Services (Keith Raniere, Lauren Salzman & Others)
       (2) Document Servitude Of Jane Done 4 (Keith Raniere, Lauren Salzman & Others)

Racketeering Act Ten
       (1) State Law Extortion (Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman & Others)

Racketeering Act Eleven
       (1) Visa Fraud (Clare Bronfman & Others)

Racketeering Act Twelve
       (1) Sex Trafficking Of Jane Doe 5 (Keith Raniere, Allison Mack & Others)
       (2) Forced Labor Of Jane Doe 5 (Keith Raniere, Allison Mack & Others)

Racketeering Act Thirteen
       (1) Forced Labor Of Jane Doe 9 (Lauren Salzman & Others)

Racketeering Act Fourteen
       (1) Conspiracy To Commit Identity Theft (Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman & Others)

Count Three: Sexual Exploitation Of A Child – Jane Doe 2 (Keith Raniere)

Count Four: Sexual Exploitation Of A Child – Jane Doe 2 (Keith Raniere)

Count Five: Possession Of Child Pornography (Keith Raniere)

Count Six: Forced Labor Conspiracy (Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman & Others)

Count Seven: Wire Fraud Conspiracy (Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman & Others)

Count Eight: Sex Trafficking Conspiracy (Keith Raniere, Allison Mack & Others)

Count Nine: Sex Trafficking Regarding Jane Doe 5 (Keith Raniere, Allison Mack & Others)

Count Ten: Attempted Sex Trafficking Regarding Jane Doe 8 (Keith Raniere, Allison Mack & Others)

Count Eleven: Conspiracy To Commit Identity Theft Regarding Jane Doe 7 (Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman & Others)

*****

Next, let’s look at what motions each of the remaining defendants filed last Friday:

RE: Keith Raniere
(1) A motion to keep the current trial schedule – which call for jury selection to start on April 8th and for opening statements to take place on April 29th;

(2) A motion to compel the parties to exchange case-in-chief trial exhibits and witness lists on April 7th;

(3) A motion to dismiss Counts Three, Four, Five and Eleven of the second superseding indictment for lack of venue – and to dismiss predicate Racketeering Acts Two, Three, and Four because of the late filing of the second superseding indictment;

(4) A motion for a Bill of Particulars from the prosecution with respect to the Counts and Racketeering Acts that were included in the first superseding indictment;

(5) A motion to preclude the prosecution’s proposed expert witnesses, Dr. Hughes and Dr. Grassian, because of its failure to provide the names of those witnesses by the agreed-upon deadline; and

(6) A motion to order testimony via closed-circuit-television for material defense witnesses who are located abroad.

*****

RE: Clare Bronfman
(1) A motion to dismiss the second superseding indictment in its entirety; or, in the alternative,
(2) To require the prosecution to provide a Bill of Particulars concerning that indictment.

*****

RE: Allison Mack
(1) A motion to dismiss Counts One, Two, Six, Eight, Nine, and Ten – and Racketeering Acts Ten and Twelve – from the second superseding indictment; or, in the alternative,
(2) To require the prosecution to provide a Bill of Particulars concerning that indictment;
(3) To sever Allison’s trial from that of Keith Raniere;
(4) To strike Racketeering Acts Two, Three and Four – or to schedule an evidentiary hearing pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 104; and
(5) To preclude the expert testimony of Dr. Hughes and Dr. Grassian.

*****

RE: Lauren Salzman
(1) A Motion to sever her trial from the trials of Keith Raniere and Allison Mack;
(2) A Motion to dismiss the second superseding indictment; or, in the alternative,
(3) To require the prosecution to provide a Bill of Particulars concerning that indictment; and
(4) To dismiss Racketeering Acts Ten and Thirteen from the second superseding indictment.

*****

RE: Kathy Russell
(1) A motion to dismiss the second superseding indictment; or, in the alternative,
(2) To require the prosecution to provide a Bill of Particulars concerning that indictment; and
(3) A motion to sever her trial from those of any of her co-defendants.

*****

One other tidbit about all the motions. With few exceptions, each defendant basically joined in all the motions filed by their co-defendants (Exception: Raniere did not join in the motions by other defendants to sever their trials from his).

*****

So, all sorts of things are up in the air as we head into what could be a very important week for everyone involved in the case.

Even though plea deal negotiations will likely continue for Allison, Lauren, and Kathy, it’s unlikely those discussions will be finalized until Judge Garaufis issues his rulings on all the pending motions.

With jury selection in the case scheduled to start on April 8th, it seems safe to assume that Judge Garaufis will dispose of all the pending motions prior to – or at – the Status Conference on April 4th.

He may even do that this week.

And once those motions have been disposed of, the plea deal negotiations will become much more intense.

*****

Since the NCAA’s March Madness is in full swing, I’ll go ahead and fill in a bracket for all the pending motions in this trial.

Here are my predictions:
• Judge Garaufis will maintain the current trial schedule at least until the pending plea deals are resolved one way or the other (If Allison, Lauren and Kathy all cut deals, Judge Garaufis may push back the start of the trial by 1-2 weeks);

• Judge Garaufis will sever Counts Three, Four and Five – and Racketeering Acts Two, Three, and Four – and transfer them to the Northern District of New York for prosecution;

• Judge Garaufis will order the prosecution to provide the defendants with a Bill of Particulars with respect to all the remaining Counts – and all the remaining Racketeering Acts – in the second superseding indictment;

• Judge Garaufis will allow Dr. Hughes and Dr. Grassian to testify as expert witnesses for the prosecution; and

• Judge Garaufis will not allow any defense witnesses to testify via closed-circuit television.

*****

Except for the guy who dropped out of law school during the first semester – and who has hated all lawyers ever since – I look forward to hearing how readers of the Frank Report think things will turn out…

*****

 

About the author

K.R. Claviger

13 Comments

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  • Thanks for that reporting, and analysis.

    Do you really think the judge would transfer charges to NDNY, given that district’s inaction and questions of NXIVM influence there? It seems to me that he, and the prosecutors, could make the case that judicial economy, including keeping it near where the defendants and their attorneys are currently located, and in the hands of prosecutors familiar with the case, justifies keeping them in EDNY, even if they are severed into a new case. I sure hope someone, particularly in the prosecutor’s office, is thinking strategically like that.

    • She has 10 lawyers, nine are up to speed on the case.

      Why would the Judge delay anything because Clare Bronfman picked another bottom feeding, law breaking lawyer?

      The Judge already held a hearing and Clare Bronfman was comfortable with her lawyer and wanted to move forward. If he has committed a crime, he should have told her it could be a conflict.

      Clare Bronfman doesn’t care anyway. Look who’s side she’s been standing by for years. Keith criminal Raniere.

  • Also, I don’t think Raniere would make a plea deal, because a trial will bring him time in the limelight even if it is only vicarious (if he follows his attorneys’ advice not to testify), and he is likely deluded enough to believe he will be vindicated and his ideas will be seen as triumphant – or at least that he can cleverly get off, with enough expensive lawyering (for which there is some precedent). Regardless, going to trial sets it up so that he and any remaining followers can claim that he was unjustly persecuted; such leaders and groups, thrive on persecution complexes.

    Typical for a hypocritical guru or cult leader, he tells his followers that there are no victims – as a means of getting them to submit to control and abuse, and even be victimized – but then likes to effectively portray himself a victim, as in his claim that the Bronfman girls’ father foiled his commodity trading scheme, and reports that followers were admonished for doing things that somehow sapped his energy.

  • Not a bad article.

    At least you committed to some real predictions and didn’t hesitate again, like a pussy.

    I re-watched My Cousin Vinny a few days ago. I was reminded of Mr. Claviger during the scene where Vinny admits that he didn’t pass the BAR exam the 1st time.

    The kid then says: “That’s okay, you probably passed it the 2nd time”.

    Vinny says: “Nope.”

    Kid says: “3 Times a charm?”

    Vinny says: “Nope. For me, 6 times was a charm”.

    I’m guessing that most of Claviger’s clients are currently in the slammer, which probably explains why he’s got so many MDC ‘sources’. I’m guessing he’s got even more sources inside the NY state prison system.

  • Krclaviger,

    You are not alone.

    Just about everyone that has ever attended law school hates the first year and wishes they never enrolled.

    Maybe 1% to 3% feel of first year law students feel differently.

  • There are too many charges and too many details I’m not interested in getting up to speed on to have an opinion. I’ll wait this one out, it shouldn’t take much longer.

  • I can’t wait for this trial to begin since I follow this every because I’m close to this forv2 reason i never like Alison since she was my neighbor and keith being so nice to me last march it just bother me

  • Question about Mack. In order to get a plea deal, will she have to plead guilty to the more serious crimes that she’s charged with (sex trafficking)? I know some people are worried she might avoid jail time due to her “celebrity”. I feel like there’s no way someone who pleads guilty to sex trafficking would serve no time. If she just pleads guilty to a smaller charge, can they strike a deal and then completely ignore the trafficking ones? Always wondered how plea deals work.

    • Although there is no “cookie cutter” for plea deals, they do tend to follow some general patterns.

      For example, that old saying about “First one on the plea deal bus gets the best seat” often turns out to be true.

      And each subsequent plea deal in a case like this tends to require more jail time and/or more restitution than the one that preceded it.

      In this case, it’s quite likely that Raniere and Mack will be required to plead guilty to at least one sex charge each – and be forced to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

      Beyond that, the sentences that will be recommended will likely go up in steps – with Nancy being the lowest, Keith being the highest, and the rest in between them.

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

Frank Report is dedicated to Frank's investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth.

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