MK10ART's splendid interpretive painting of Kathy Russell

Kathy Russell’s Motion To Dismiss Is Denied: Plea Deal Seen As Imminent

Kathy Russell’s last-minute Hail Mary pass has been batted down by U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.

In a very detailed and well researched Memorandum & Order, Judge Garaufis has denied Kathy’s request to have her indictment dismissed on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct.

And then, to add disdain to the denial, Judge Garaufis also denied her request for an evidentiary hearing that, if granted, would have allowed her to see all the evidence that the prosecution has amassed against her.

*****

Russell’s travails began when she was served with a subpoena on April 25, 2018 that required her to testify before the grand jury in Brooklyn, NY that was hearing evidence about the NXIVM criminal enterprise.

Rather than retain her own attorney who would be able to give her unconflicted legal advice, Kathy decided to utilize one that was being paid for by Clare Bronfman, the Director of Operations and de facto Chief Executive Officer for NXIVM.

That turned out to be William Fanciullo, an Albany, NY-area attorney who once served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

William Fanciullo is supposedly a top-flight attorney in Albany, NY. At least Clare Bronfman thinks so. 

Fanciullo reviewed the subpoena – and apparently decided that since it was not accompanied by an “Advice of Rights” form or a letter indicating that Kathy was a target, she was only being called to testify as a witness.

On April 30th, Fanciullo sent an email to the prosecutors in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the EDNY to inform them that he was representing Kathy.

Within 15 minutes of receiving his email, the prosecutors contacted Fanciullo – and offered to discuss Kathy’s scheduled appearance before the grand jury.

But Fanciullo never responded to the offer – and, instead, simply accompanied Kathy to Brooklyn on May 10th.

*****

And so Kathy appeared before the grand jury with only a scrap of paper in her hands to protect her.

On the paper were the words that she would read whenever she chose to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

After she was sworn in, Kathy was informed that she was not a “target” of the investigation. She was not, however, told that she was not a “subject” – and never asked any follow-up questions about her status.

Even before the prosecution informed her about her Fifth Amendment rights, Kathy decided to invoke them when she was asked the following questions:
(1) Was she paying for Fanciullo’s legal services?
(2) Had she recently destroyed any NXIVM-related documents?

Not exactly the ideal way to get started. Especially when she decided not to invoke those same rights when asked many other questions.

For the next 1½ hours, Kathy was asked questions about a range of topics, including her experiences with Nxivm; the courses she took; her positions within Nxivm; the nature and philosophy of Nxivm and related entities; and certain Nxivm rules, rituals, and ranking systems.

Sometimes, she answered. Other times – approximately 50 times – she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights.

Some of the topics that Kathy refused to answer questions about are as follows:
• Her education level;
• Her weight;
• Her decision to move to Albany to work for Nxivm – and leave her son behind in Alaska;
• Her duties and responsibilities as Nxivm’s bookkeeper;
• Keith Raniere’s sexual partners;
• Whether she was a member of DOS or had ever discussed DOS with Keith Raniere;
• Why she did not ask other NXIVM members whether they were branded;
• Whether she knew anyone in Nxivm who had had an abortion;
• Whether NXIVM stored cash at Nancy Salzman’s house; and
• Whether she had ever heard of anybody being confined to a room for a long period of time.

After a short break – during which she conferred with Fanciullo – Kathy returned to the grand jury room.

This time, however, she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights on almost every question she was asked.

These included questions about:
• Whether Keith Raniere has any children;
• Whether she knew if certain individuals were members of NXIVM;
• Whether she had any debts; and
• Whether she knew of cash being brought into the U.S. by agents of NXIVM.

When Kathy was done testifying, the prosecutors, along with several FBI agents, met with her and Fanciullo – and offered to meet with them pursuant to a proffer agreement.

On May 14th, Fanciullo requested – and was provided with – a copy of the proffer agreement. On May 22nd, he turned down the offer, thereby sealing Kathy’s fate.

*****

Kathy was indicted on July 23rd – along with Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, and Clare Bronfman.

On August 9th, Justine A. Harris replaced Fanciullo as Kathy’s lead counsel.

Justine Harris is now Kathy’s lead attorney.  

Since that time, Harris and her partner, Amanda Ravitch, have filed numerous documents in support of Kathy’s request for a dismissal.

That battle is now over.

*****

At the same time that Harris and Ravitch have been seeking to have Kathy’s indictment dismissed, they have also been engaged in plea deal negotiations with Moira Kim Penza and the other members of the prosecution’s team.

Most court observers believe that the prosecution has no interest in prosecuting Kathy to the fullest extent possible.

Evidence of that can be seen in the second superseding indictment – which includes only one count of Racketeering Conspiracy against Kathy.

The first superseding indictment had also included one count of Racketeering – and two predicate acts: conspiring to illegally transport a woman across the Canadian border – and installing a “key-logger” on a computer of an accountant who worked for NXIVM so they could monitor his emails.

*****

So, what’s next for Kathy?

Well, unless she has absolutely no sense of self-preservation, she will cut a deal – and agree to testify against Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman (She’ll probably also have to agree to testify in any subsequent NXIVM-related trials).

Making that choice would be an easy task for most people.

But Kathy is not most people.

Instead, she’s a woman who abandoned her young son – and moved more than 4,000 miles away to be with her Vanguard.

And she’s a 60-year wannabe ballerina who is still doing recitals with 10-year-old and 12-year-old-girls.

Hopefully, her two attorneys can convince her to make her first smart decision in almost 20-years – and get on with her life.

*****

The prosecution is probably anxious to get a plea deal worked out with Kathy – and remove her as a defendant in the case.

That will allow them to concentrate all their firepower on Raniere and Bronfman – and expose them for the horrid people they both are.

Having Kathy be part of the trial would be a distraction – both for the prosecution and the jury (Kind of like having a little puppy wander onto the field in the middle of a football game).

Let’s hope the prosecution gives a deal that requires only a short amount of prison time.

About the author

K.R. Claviger

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  • Don’t do it Kathy don’t take a plea fatty fatty square feet has coached you through your very successful ballerina career.. don’t lose the faith now. I have it on good authority ( Yolanda Cortez ) you have been chosen to bear him his Avatar baby after your aquittal.

  • Thanks Krclaviger!!!!!

    I have nothing of wit to add or ask, but a superficially observation to share….

    Justine Harris needs to stay a brunette because as a blond it’s just not happening!!!

  • Frank, may I request MK10art’s contact info? If you would rather not post it I understand.

    Looking through her work I have found a couple of pieces I do quite like. The Jabba and Slave is epic, just ridiculous and wonderful lolol.

    A lot of her stuff reminds me of a particular painting by an art nouveau artist, Grasset. He did produce a very very small number of paintings that really broke away from typical art nouveau stuff. “Three Women and Three Wolves” is the one I’m thinking of.

  • Kathy take the plea, prison won’t suit you… throw yourself on the mercy of the court, clean that nxivm filth off of you and start over! You’ve been used and lied to!! The grand jury was a set up!

    • It occurs to me that if nothing nefarious was done there is nothing to “rat” about or anyone to “rat” on.

      Your anger at those getting plea deals and cooperating doesn’t make much sense if they are just telling the truth. If your Vanguard did things that can’t be freely spoken about that should be a big red flag.

  • Take the plea, Kathy. And get out of the way. We want the full force of energy to go towards Keith and Clare and see to it that they get the maximum sentencing possible. That is unless Clare also takes a plea. In which case, the prosecution should only offer her the shittiest deal possible, then all guns are pointed at Keith. A battle Keith STILL believes he is going to win and walk free.

    I personally think he knows he’s going to lose, but he’ll go for acquittal, after which he’ll take his own life. Watch and see. He’s not going to prison for the rest of his miserable life. He’ll take the easy way out and rid the planet of his stench. This will fuel the fire for NXIVM 2.0 with its founder as a martyr and a victim of the system he was going to change. Change in what way you ask? Why he was going to convince the world that adult sex with 12 year olds is not only okay, but should be celebrated as it is “freeing” for these young women and is all part of the feminist movement. Pretty fucked up really. But just ask our troll, Yolanda Cortez. Pedophilia isn’t wrong. It’s the way of the future! A future Keith will now miss out on, and gratefully, the rest of us will miss out on as well. Because most people are sane and will not endorse pedophilia. But we are just all steeped in tradition and morals.

    • Actually, if Raniere commits suicide (I don’t think he has the guts, it’s much more likely someone will take him out), he will be in prison for the rest of his miserable (shortened) life. Either way, he will be less of a tax burden.

  • After reading today’s posts, it appears the smartest one in the entire bunch of bandits is Karen Unterreiner.
    She did not pass go to Clare Bronfman attorneys, she did not collect an arrest warrant, and she didn’t get indicted.

    Stupid is what stupid does. It appears that at least six followers are stupid.
    Let’s not forget Pea Brain.

      • Seems like something Shadow would post. Not sure if evil correlates to longevity. Probably closer to being non sequiturs. As you would say, where’s the proof?

        • You can’t wrestle with a pig (Raniere) for that long and not get some mud on yourself. At this point, it’s up to her and people who know her to come forward with her story of being fooled by Raniere and not knowing anything, just like Kristin Crook. This is the court of public opinion, not a court of law.

          • The ones who have know Karen have all been coming to her defense. Frank has been the hardest on her – that’s probably a good thing to help balance all the “she is so nice and sweet” takes on her personality.
            I know “he made me do it’ doesn’t work as an excuse for Nazis, but does it hold weight in the court of public opinion on FR?
            Don’t mistake this as a hard defense of Karen. More of an attack on Keith’s brainwashing. I’m sure Karen is covered in mud.

  • I assume the former defendants who took pleas are going to be testifying and I can imagine Keith’s attorney is going to attempt to destroy them on the witness stand. For example, I’m sure he’ll ask Mack about her initials on the brand and if she herself was branded (which is a no and makes her whole “I’m a brainwashed victim” claim iffy). My question is can the judge take this into consideration during sentencing? A lot could come out during the trial (especially if they are on the witness stand) that makes them look very bad. I’m just not sure if legally the judge can use it in his decision since they are not on trial anymore. Any ideas?

    • Information about “prior bad acts” – which is what you’re describing – can, in fact, be included in the “Presenetecing Report” that will be provided to the judge. So, he may well have a chance to take that information into consideration at the time of sentencing.

      There’s also a pending motion that, if granted, would allow the government to introduce evidence of non-criminal acts during the trial itself. I’ll go back and find that filing and elaborate on it in a future post.

    • I don’t think we know that Mack is necessarily claiming to be a “brainwashed victim,” rather than just having been misled and misguided.

      It seems to me that as regards Mack and other DOS slaves, and the counts involving acts against them, more nuanced discussion of undue psychological influence will largely be eclipsed because Raniere ended up resorting to the crude tool of “collateral,” and the arguments will be over whether or not that was coercive or extortionate. However, when it comes to others like the woman kept in the room for two years, if it goes to trial then the use of more subtle forms of manipulation and control will be at issue.

    • Mack never claimed to be brainwashed. She said she was misled. She trusted the others and was wrong. The judge can take anything into consideration, including whether he thinks she is faking it.

  • As easy as it is to hate most of these people, there is something pathetic about Russell. Something very Tennessee Williams to her story. Hard to get on with life when the last twenty years were a vacuum.

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

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