With today’s pleas – with Clare Bronfman and Kathy Russell pleading guilty – there is but one man standing in the case of the US v. Keith Ranere
It is funny, laughable really, for the world’s smartest man to come to this. His whole plan – for years – was to put everything in other’s names – so that if law enforcement ever came down on him – he’d be in the clear.
Talk about miscalculation. He will almost certainly face the longest prison sentence. Whether he survives it or not, whether he actually spends more time in prison alive than his female codefendants, is another question, for another day.
At the end of the day, though – this day – this Good Friday – he will be alone – the sole defendant and most likely all five of his former co-defendants – Clare, Kathy, Allison Mack and mother-daughter Lauren and Nancy Salzman – will be poised to testify against this man that only little more than a year ago they were pledging undying loyalty to — he was their Vanguard.
With Clare pleading today – to what will likely be one racketeering charge and one racketeering conspiracy charge – both with 20 year maximum sentences [and no minimum] – and in line with what Lauren and Allison pleaded to recently – Clare will have ended her tenure as Keith Raniere’ chief enabler – with an allocution, a sentencing date – likely in September – followed by a stretch in prison.
For years, these two monsters, Clare and Keith, scared, threatened and punished enemies, abusing the civil and criminal courts – and did so with impunity – as they held together that criminal enterprise known as Nxivm.
She used her money to corrupt the system [and money itself corrupts the system – for the wealthy can buy their justice and she had hundreds of millions to spend]. Now that system is working against her and her money most likely will not be able to buy her the injustice of getting out of this mess she got into 16 years ago, it comes full circle.
As for hapless Kathy Russell, the low level bookkeeper of Nxivm, she is likely to plead guilty to one charge of racketeering conspiracy – for that is all she is charged with. If this is so, then Nancy and Kathy get off the lightest – with one felony each.
Allison and Lauren and Clare [if she pleads to two counts today] will be on par – pleading guilty to one count each of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy.
Odd, the most culpable Nancy will be on the same terms as the least culpable – the hapless Kathy Russell – but Nancy got on the plea deal bus first and Kathy got on last.
All the codefendants – who are now [or will be by the end of today] convicts – will be sentenced by Judge Nicholas Garaufis.
If there is a trial – if Keith goes the distance – then the level of their cooperation may be a factor in sentencing. If there is no trial – or even if there is – sentencing may be impacted by letters to the court – both pro and con – on these various convicts.
If you have had an experience – either good or bad with Mack, Salzman, Salzman, Russell or Bronfman – you might want to consider writing a letter to the judge for his consideration in sentencing these ladies.
The judge has huge latitude. He can go anywhere from 20 years per count to zero. He can let them walk, or have them subject to home arrest or sentence them to what the sentencing guidelines suggest – which is likely in the 3-6 year range – for convicts such as these – who pleaded guilty before trial, took responsibility for their criminal actions, and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution.
The convicts themselves can speak on their own behalf [expect a number of tearful pleas for leniency] and their lawyers will, and the prosecution also will make their own recommendation.
Victims may also be permitted to speak in court at sentencing – and the judge just might welcome this for the record.
On top of that, Pretrial Services – who have been monitoring the defendants since their arrest – will also make recommendations.
As of today, the trial is set to begin on May 7 with Keith Raniere.
Of course he may plead too. He has an uphill struggle now. Everyone will be testifying against him. And it is unlikely he will be able to get the Mexican faithful to come up to testify that they were glad to be branded.
The evidence is overwhelming now. And maybe it was the child porn evidence that the prosecution discovered at 8 Hale Drive [Raniere’s sex lair] that truly unhinged the codefendants’ resolve to stand by their Vanguard and take their chances at trial.
And now, what incentive – what incentive at all – does the prosecution have to offer Raniere any kind of plea deal? They know they can convict him. If they do, he will get life in prison.
What would they offer? Something with a 20 to 25 year sentencing range?
Keith has nothing to trade, nothing to offer. He’s going down and everyone – even he must know it. Unless of course he is so delusional that he knows nothing of the reality of his own situation.
There is no viable deal on the table for Keith Raniere and for that reason alone he may go to trial.
He faces racketeering, forced labor and sex trafficking charges and I cannot imagine the prosecution offering him anything less than racketeering and sex trafficking – and that means decades in maximum security prison and, if he ever gets out, a lifetime on the sex registry.
For me, on this Good Friday, there is a sense of partial closure. My fight with Nxivm began – the Frank Report commenced – because Clare Bronfman chose to file a criminal complaint against me with the FBI.
She – probably taking orders from Keith Raniere – but I suspect glad to it just the same – signed a complaint which, if successful, would have placed me in a prison – just like the one she is now going to be placed in.
She wanted to cage me – and she will be caged.
For my own part, I am glad she is now stopped from hurting others, using her wealth and vindictive nature to punish people because she could – because of her wealth.
But of course she could have spared herself this ordeal. Chances are Clare could have done a lot better earlier in the game. She could have made a better plea deal if she had chose to do so earlier. But critical thinking was never her strong suit. She let Raniere do her thinking.
Today she is headed for court and an allocution that Nxivm was a criminal organization and that she foolishly followed a very bad man.
After today, all eyes will be on Keith Alan Raniere. Will he plead guilty or go to trial?
Either way he will be alone and his former faithful followers all lined up against him.
We will have updates on Clare and Nancy later today. Our correspondent Village Diane will be present at the hearings.