Nine motions pending; Watch for rulings this week as trial approaches

MK10ART painting of Nancy Salzman testifying against Nxivm
Here’s the list of the motions that I think Judge Garaufis still has to rule on.
There may be others.
   – Kathy Russell’s Motion To Dismiss – or, in the alternative, For A Bill Of Particulars
   – Kathy Russell’s Motion To Sever Her Trial From Keith’s Trial
   – Clare Bronfman’s Motion To Dismiss the Second Superseding Indictment – or, in the alternative, For A Bill Of Particulars
   – Clare’s Motion To Sever Her Trial From Keith’s Trial
   – Clare’s Motion To Suppress The Evidence From The Storage Locker
   – Keith’s Motion To Dismiss Count 2: Racketeering
   – Keith’s Motion To Exclude Expert Testimony
   – Keith’s Motion To Obtain Testimony From Foreign Witnesses Via Closed-Circuit TVs
– The prosecution’s motion to allow some Jane Doe witnesses to not be named in court.
Here are my predictions:
Kathy Russell’s Motion To Dismiss 
We may get the ruling any time now. There has been a lot of motion practice on this and a hearing last week. It seemed the judge was leaning against granting this at the hearing.
I predict Kathy will not have her case dismissed – which will lead to her pleading guilty to the racketeering charge against her.
The argument for dismissal is that Kathy was misled into a hybrid of “Pleading the 5th” and offering testimony in the grand jury – caused by the prosecution telling her she was not a target of the investigation when she was, in fact, a target.
The real culprit appears to be her attorney at the time, William P. Fanciullo, who had seems to have had ample opportunity to protect Kathy from getting indicted – if his first consideration was indeed Kathy.
He had the chance to talk to the prosecution beforehand on several occasions before Kathy went into the grand jury.  Afterward, he was offered the opportunity to get Russell a proffer, which likely would have come with immunity from prosecution. This Bronfman-paid lawyer, however, seems to have ignored all opportunities to consult with the prosecution and sent Kathy instead into the grand jury with a scrap of paper for her to read her 5th Amendment invocation and decide when to do so.
What a shame, because, if Kathy takes a plea deal, she will likely give the same evidence she was asked about in the grand jury. This time it will be to get some time shaved off her prison sentence. At that time, she could have avoided an indictment altogether.
Kathy Russell’s Motion To Sever Her Trial From Keith’s Trial
Extremely unlikely. The judge has set the trial date for May 7. This suggests there will be no severance. The lawyers for both sides are preparing the case with the present defendants.
Clare Bronfman’s Motion To Dismiss the Second Superseding Indictment
The case will not be dismissed against Clare. Her motion to sever from Keith – for the same reasons as stated for Kathy – will be denied.
Last week, when the prosecution asked for a two-week delay in the trial start date, Clare objected. The result was that the judge postponed the trial only one week.  Her lawyers, led by Mark Geragos, are currently planning for a trial that features Raniere as her co-defendant.
Clare’s Motion To Suppress The Evidence From The Storage Locker
Clare stupidly stored important documents in a storage unit in the name of one of her employees, a Nxivm member. The DOJ got their hands on the documents. Clare spent probably several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees trying to stop the DOJ from getting the documents, then, after they got them, from being able to use any of it as evidence at trial.
The good news for Clare is that the judge may rule that the prosecution may not use the documents as evidence. The bad news is that there is so much other evidence and witnesses ready to testify against Clare that it won’t matter.
Keith’s Motion To Dismiss Count 2: Racketeering
Won’t happen. Not worth talking about.
Keith’s Motion To Exclude Expert Testimony
This is unlikely also and like most of Keith’s motions, it seems to be based on his “understanding” of the law combined with his own estimation of his genius.
In other words they are hare-brained.
The prosecution has a right to call expert witnesses at trial and their experts are right on point with what they need to prove at trial about his overarching racketeering schemes.
Keith’s Motion To Obtain Testimony From Foreign Witnesses Via Closed-Circuit TVs
I can’t see it being granted. The main reason is that witnesses outside the jurisdiction of the US Courts, testifying on TV, have no accountability.
What is the punishment for perjury? Extradition?
What are the means of identification of witnesses? Their word alone or showing some ID on TV?
What if the witness wants to stop testifying at any time? Can she just literally pull the plug?
What would the judge do to stop contempt of court? If she continued to testify about things that were sustained after an objection, how could the judge gag her?
Would he unplug the TV on his end?
Too many problems, not enough control. It won’t be granted.
If Keith wants Mexican witnesses, he will have to produce them in court and a lot of them won’t dare come to the USA – which puts rather a damper on the Raniere defense.
 The prosecution’s motion to allow Jane Doe witnesses to not be named in court
I think all the Jane Does will have to appear in public. I doubt the courtroom will be closed. The idea that their names not be used in the proceeding, and they will be only referred to as Jane Doe and a certain number – in order to shield their names from the media – seems like a difficult motion for the court to approve.
A fundamental rule of justice is that trials be open to the public. That means witnesses are named and sworn.  There is a good reason for the public knowing the names of witnesses who testify against defendants since the reputation and integrity of both witnesses and defendants is on trial. This is why witnesses can be impeached at a trial.
Secret witnesses are hardly desirable.  Of course, this is hard on victims regardless of the crimes alleged.
In this case, we have women who have been brutalized by a monster. However, the precedent of anonymous witnesses is a dangerous one and may lead to an expansion of this concept. How far do we allow it to go?
There is a presumption of innocence for all defendants. With shielded witnesses, it cannot help but lend a presumption of guilt. And lends to a presumption that the judge agrees the witness is credible, is a victim and that the defendant is dangerous and committed an egregious crime against her.
I predict it will be denied.
Some of the Jane Does, by the way, are not sex crime victims and their fear of Raniere and of public exposure and embarrassment is not perhaps enough reason to grant them anonymity.
Where do you draw the line?  It is embarrassing perhaps to have been robbed or beat up? Does everyone who is embarrassed get to be an anonymous witness?
If so, it would upend the entire criminal justice system.
Defendants are named in court and the accusers are named. This is justice.
It may be hard, but it is nevertheless the American idea of justice.

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Frank Parlato


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  • Regarding the storage locker information, if it is determined to not be admissible, and if any of them go to trial, I can see a lot of challenges to various other evidence/testimony being admitted, as it will be argued “if not for” is the ultimate source of the line of questioning. It can also be used for appeals purposes, whether the storage locker information is used or not. Potentially very messy. The good thing is they should be kept in prison during the appeals process.

    • Yes, the “poisoned fruit” problem.

      Expect Bronfman to fight to be allowed to stay out under house arrest during appeals, which is unusual but no unheard of. Given that she managed to make bond to begin with and never spent a night in jail unlike the other defendants, getting away without being sanctioned for having failed to disclose her ownership of the Fijian island, I think she stands a better than might be expected chance of managing to continue to stay out of prison. Unfortunately, she’s demonstrating that the system works rather differently for those with lots of resources.

      • I think once the judge considers the Figi Island lie and all of her other lies and aggressive lawsuits over the years, he is likely to put her in prison pending appeals.

        • Wasn’t she caught out in that lie, and the judge still granted her bond? If he didn’t jail her right then and there, I don’t see why he necessarily would down the road, either.

          I think her chances for house arrest would be best if she gets a mistrial rather than a conviction, which is why it would be to her advantage to have someone try some jury tampering in hopes of getting an acquittal or a hung jury, even if it backfires and is ultimately exposed – as long as it isn’t traced back to her, and she is hiring the sort of people capable of ensuring that. If she’s convicted, it may be that Garaufis is no-nonsense enough to jail her at that point, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

          • Clare, if found guilty, will be deemed a bigger flight risk. She hasn’t gone on the run before the trial, probably because she arrogantly believes that her wealth will buy a not guilty verdict. With a guilty verdict and facing prison, she will flee to a non extradition country if not immediately incarcerated.

          • It’s an accumulation of issues. She lied about Figi, she gets convicted, which puts her in a much different place than just being prosecuted, all of her past is put on display during pre-sentencing, both her behavior and witnesses coming forward, etc. I agree a hung jury would probably put her back in her apartment, as her status would be unchanged. However, if enough nasty things about her are said during the trial, the judge may change his mind.

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.

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